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Optical limiting effects in SrBi2Ta2O9 (SBT) and PbZrxTi1-xO3 (PZT) ferroelectric thin films have been observed with nanosecond laser pulses at 1.064 μm. Limiting thresholds were found to be 5.84 J/cm2 for SBT and between 4.53 and 5.93 J/cm2 for PZT, depending on composition, whereas saturation thresholds for the films were about 2.92 J/cm2 and between 2.27 J/cm2 to 2.97 J/cm2, respectively. Damage thresholds around 10.0 J/cm2 and between 10.37 J/cm2 to 10.54 J/cm2, respectively for SBT and PZT, were also determined. A possible mechanism for the observed limiting, nonlinear optical scattering from the ferroelectric domains, is discussed. These results elucidate the origin of the nonlinear optical properties in perovskite-type ferroelectric thin films and show the potential role such materials can play in photonic devices based on nonlinear optical effects. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.
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