Unexpected irreversible damage occurred repeatedly in the asymmetric bismuth silicate (BSO) photorefractive spatial light modulator under some operation modes, even though the power of the write-light beam does not exceed the optical damage threshold. According to the microscopic surface images and the Raman spectra of the BSO film, sudden rising of temperature in local areas caused by the drift of the photon-induced electrons is responsible for the damage; the damage exists not only on the surface but also inside the BSO crystal. The damage is relative to the structure of the spatial light modulator, the operation mode, and the growth of the BSO crystal. The information provided by the damage is useful for optimizing the structure, the operation modes, and the performance of the photorefractive spatial light modulators.
© 2007 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: December 18, 2006
Revised Manuscript: March 11, 2007
Manuscript Accepted: March 13, 2007
Published: May 31, 2007
Xiujian Li, Jiankun Yang, Juncai Yang, Shengli Chang, Ju Liu, and Wenhua Hu, "Unexpected irreversible damage of an asymmetric bismuth silicate photorefractive spatial light modulator," Appl. Opt. 46, 3774-3779 (2007)