The influence of optical activity on two-wave mixing (TWM) in photorefractive BTO and BSO crystals in the absence of an applied field is studied both theoretically and experimentally. For the conventinal orientations of the grating vector, K  and K, the piezoelectric and photoelastic effects are either zero or negligible. This makes an analytical treatment of the TWM problem possible. We obtain an analytical solution for the coupled wave equations of TWM valid for arbitrary optical activity. This result is of special importance for BTO crystals. In these crystals under the condition of maximum energy transfer (|K|rD=1, where rD is the Debye radius) neither the approximation of small optical activity nor the one of dominating optical activity is applicable and our analytical solution becomes essential. Our experimental setup uses beams with a trapezoidal overlap that allows us to study the thickness-dependence of the gain in a single measurement. Experimental and theoretical results for a BTO crystal are compared with those for a BSO crystal and are explained in the framework of the model used.
- two-wave mixing
- optical activity