Jerky domain wall motion during merging of neighboring domains in lithium niobate single crystals was studied in details by using synchronized in-situ optical visualization and recording of switching current shape. Several scenarios of domain structure transformation were revealed and classified. It has been shown that predetermined nucleation and layer-by-layer mechanism are main reasons for observed jerky domain wall motion. On the basis of the analysis of the current pulse shape the step growth velocity was estimated to be about 1 m/s. This value is several orders of magnitude higher than the averaged visible domain wall velocity in lithium niobate.
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