We present the case of photoionization-induced holeburning in rare-earth-doped II–VI compounds for high-density persistent holeburning. In this case, the photoproduct of holeburning is distributed across the entire zero-phonon line. This maximizes the total number of possible spectral holes that can be burned into an inhomogeneous line as well as produces holes that are photoerasable. Experimental data on photon-gated holeburning in MgS:Eu2+, Eu3+ are presented. With the proper choice of the host electronic band structure, the optically active rare-earth ion and its electronic transitions involved in the holeburning process, to the best of our knowledge we have observed the highest number of photon-gated holes ever burned in a single electronic transition. The features of these holes are that they suffer no detectable erasure after several thousands of read cycles, they survive thermal cycling to ∼150 K, and they are completely photoerasable. A special case of photon-gated holeburning, power-gated holeburning, was employed to demonstrate that, in such systems, a single laser can be used for burning, reading, and erasing of the spectral holes. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.