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LiB3O5 (LBO) crystals are used to generate the second, third, and fourth harmonics of near-infrared solid-state lasers. At high power levels, the material’s performance is adversely affected by nonlinear absorption. We show that as-grown crystals contain oxygen and lithium vacancies. Transient absorption bands are formed when these intrinsic defects serve as traps for “free” electrons and holes created by x rays or by three- and four-photon absorption processes. Trapped electrons introduce a band near 300 nm and trapped holes produce bands in the 500-600 nm region. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) is used to identify and characterize the electrons trapped at oxygen vacancies (the unpaired electron is localized on one neighboring boron). Self-trapped holes and lithium vacancies with the hole trapped on an adjacent oxygen are also observed with EPR. At room temperature, we predict that most of the unwanted defect-related ultraviolet absorption created by a short laser pulse will decay with a half-life of 29 µs.


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Plain-text title: Oxygen vacancies in LiB3O5 crystals and their role in nonlinear absorption.

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Optical Materials Express