We demonstrate infrared femtosecond laser-induced inversion of ferroelectric domains. This process can be realised solely by using tightly focused laser pulses without application of any electric field prior to, in conjunction with, or subsequent to the laser irradiation. As most ferroelectric crystals like LiNbO3, LiTaO3, and KTiOPO4 are transparent in the infrared, this optical poling method allows one to form ferroelectric domain patterns much deeper inside a ferroelectric crystal than by using ultraviolet light and hence can be used to fabricate practical devices. We also propose in situ diagnostics of the ferroelectric domain inversion process by monitoring the Čerenkov second harmonic signal, which is sensitive to the appearance of ferroelectric domain walls.

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