In this work is presented a study on the surface microdomain formation in quasi-SLN Z-cut 3" crystals, with an accurate control on both the composition and on the wafering process. The UV absorption edge has been measured and correlated with the crystal composition, showing the edge shift towards shorter wavelengths. The coercive field has been measured as a function of temperature and it has been found lower in the quasi-SLN substrate if compared with the congruent crystals. The microdomain formation at wafer level can be controlled and avoided by appropriate composition choice as well as wafer mechanical and thermal treatments, and is checked by chemical etching and subsequent optical inspection. It has been found that quasi-SLN crystals with 49.82 Li2O mol% content could present microdomains formation even after the photoresist process. On the other side, quasi-SLN crystals with 49.72 Li2O mol% content seem to be more stable for both photoresist and Ti diffusion process for waveguide fabrication. A careful control on LiNbO3 composition and wafer surface quality allows one to find the proper compositional window for the realization of various advanced optical and electro-optical devices.
MicroRaman spectroscopy has been used for the surface characterization of lithium niobate (LiNbO3) crystals. 3" wafers with different Li/Nb ratio, i.e., conventional congruent (CLN) and quasi-stoichiometric LiNbO3 have been analyzed. A correlation between the width of the 150cm-1 and 870cm-1 line and the crystal composition has been found. A narrowing of the linewidths for quasi-stoichiometric crystals has been observed, showing an ordered structure, if compared with CLN. The 870cm-1 line has been used to study the surface quality of 3" Z-cut CLN crystals after the wafering process. The presence of a surface structural disorder up to 30micron has been found. Various etching methods have been employed in order to minimize both the thickness of the damaged layer and the degree of damage during the wafer slicing and polishing processes. A reliable surface stress release method has been found for optical surface finishing of LiNbO3 substrates
Various material and functional properties have been measured in lithium niobate crystals (LiNbO3) with different compositions, starting from conventional congruent composition, up to off-congruent and quasi-stoichiometric ones. The UV absorption edge has been measured and correlated with the crystal composition, showing the edge shift towards shorter wavelengths. The ferroelectric transition Curie temperatures have been determined by differential scanning calorimetry, and it increases with Li2O content in the crystal. The surface composition has been checked by micro-Raman spectroscopy. A narrowing of the linewidths has been observed for quasi-stoichiometric crystal, showing an ordered structure, if compared with congruent composition. The coercive field has been measured as a function of temperature for two different crystal compositions, and it has been found lower in the off-congruent substrate. The Ti-indiffusion process has been studied and compared in congruent and off-congruent LiNbO3 substrates by secondary ion mass spectrometry. The main diffusion process parameters have been determined. The Ti diffusion process has been found considerably slower in off-congruent substrates, if compared with conventional congruent LiNbO3, and resulted almost isotropic. The Li-outdiffusion phenomenon has been observed and correlated wit the Ti concentration profile. A careful control on LiNbO3 composition and material properties allows one to find the proper compositional window for the realization of various advanced optical and electro-optical devices.