The photorefractive behavior of unannealed a-phase proton-exchanged LiNbO3 waveguides is studied. The time evolution of the diffraction efficiency η during recording strongly depends on the writing intensity. For an intensity of 79 W/cm2, a very sharp, transient peak of η appears initially followed by a decay to the saturation value. The peak is absent when writing is performed immediately after a complete optical erasure. The saturation value of η also present a peculiar dependence as a function of the writing intensity. The occurrence of shallow traps in these guides may explain qualitatively the observed behavior.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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