Ultrafast acousto-optic mode conversion in optically birefringent ferroelectrics.

Nature communications

PubMedID: 27492493

Lejman M, Vaudel G, Infante IC, Chaban I, Pezeril T, Edely M, Nataf GF, Guennou M, Kreisel J, Gusev VE, Dkhil B, Ruello P. Ultrafast acousto-optic mode conversion in optically birefringent ferroelectrics. Nat Commun. 2016;712345.
The ability to generate efficient giga-terahertz coherent acoustic phonons with femtosecond laser makes acousto-optics a promising candidate for ultrafast light processing, which faces electronic device limits intrinsic to complementary metal oxide semiconductor technology. Modern acousto-optic devices, including optical mode conversion process between ordinary and extraordinary light waves (and vice versa), remain limited to the megahertz range. Here, using coherent acoustic waves generated at tens of gigahertz frequency by a femtosecond laser pulse, we reveal the mode conversion process and show its efficiency in ferroelectric materials such as BiFeO3 and LiNbO3. Further to the experimental evidence, we provide a complete theoretical support to this all-optical ultrafast mechanism mediated by acousto-optic interaction. By allowing the manipulation of light polarization with gigahertz coherent acoustic phonons, our results provide a novel route for the development of next-generation photonic-based devices and highlight new capabilities in using ferroelectrics in modern photonics.