Epitaxy of LiNbO3: Historical Challenges and Recent Success

M. Tellekamp, Bill Zivasatienraj, W. Doolittle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus Citations


High-quality epitaxial growth of thin film lithium niobate (LiNbO3) is highly desirable for optical and acoustic device applications. Despite decades of research, current state-of-the-art epitaxial techniques are limited by either the material quality or growth rates needed for practical devices. In this paper, we provide a short summary of the primary challenges of lithium niobate epitaxy followed by a brief historical review of lithium niobate epitaxy for prevalent epitaxial techniques. Available figures of merit for crystalline quality and optical transmission losses are given for each growth method. The highest crystalline quality lithium niobate thin film was recently grown by halide-based molecular beam epitaxy and is comparable to bulk lithium niobate crystals. However, these high-quality crystals are grown at slow rates that limit many practical applications. Given the many challenges that lithium niobate epitaxy imposes and the wide variety of methods that have unsuccessfully attempted to surmount these barriers, new approaches to lithium niobate epitaxy are required to meet the need for simultaneously high crystalline quality and sufficient thickness for devices not currently practical by existing techniques.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number397
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-79946


  • Chemical vapor deposition
  • Epitaxy
  • Liquid phase epitaxy
  • Lithium
  • Molecular beam epitaxy
  • Niobate
  • Pulsed laser deposition
  • Sputtering
  • Thin film


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