An analysis of our radiospectroscopic and optical data obtained on a great variety of LiNbO3 crystals of different compositions stimulated us to develop a new approach to the intrinsic and extrinsic defect subsystems, considering them as one integrated functional system. Their strong interrelation becomes especially apparent when concentrations of both defect classes are comparable. Typical examples of mutual influence and correlation of subsystems are demonstrated. Crystals with extremely low intrinsic defect contents offer extraordinary informative opportunities. Since both defect subsystems can be used for a deliberate tailoring of properties, nonstoichiometric materials are especially promising for crystal engineering. The developed ideas are also valid for other photorefractive materials.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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