NSU Scientists First in Russia to Create Defense Industry Crystals

Scientists at the NSU Physics Department Laboratory for Functional Materials created mono domain crystals of Potassium Titanyl Arsenate KTiOAsO4 (KTA). This was the first time scientists in Russia were able to achieve this. These nonlinear optical crystals are used to convert laser radiation in the visible mid infrared range in optical parametric oscillators (ODO). The ferroelectric properties and high homogeneity of the crystals made it possible to use them as the basis to create periodic structures that significantly increase the conversion efficiency of laser radiation in the spectral range up to 5 micrometers.

There are analogues, such as lithium niobate and lithium tantalate crystals, but their optical stability does not meet the requirements for modern devices.   KTA has low ionic conductivity that provides increased optical stability and this is what makes it the best crystal. KTA elements are in demand for use in creating aircraft protection systems instruments and other special applications that require high-power radiation sources in the mid infrared range.

There are two key features of this project. First, the crystals were grown and the work conducted as part of a joint project between two NSU Physics Department laboratories: Functional Materials Laboratory (L. I. Isaenko, Scientific Supervisor) and the Quantum Optical Technologies Laboratory (D. B. Kolker, Head). The second feature, is the research was supported by private investors.

The Laboratory for Functional Materials is constantly searching for materials characterized by parameters that will lead to a new step in the development of laser technology. The 5-100 Project supported the purchase of the unique NSU experimental equipment used to characterize the new crystals.