, Volume 96, Issue 2-3, pp 453-457
Date: 02 Apr 2009

Interference microscopy of femtosecond laser written waveguides in phosphate glass

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Abstract

By focusing fs-laser radiation in the volume of a transparent material the refractive index can be changed locally, leading to 3-dimensional waveguiding structures. Waveguides are written in phosphate glass (IOG from Schott) at a depth of 100 μm below the surface. The pulse energy and the scan velocity are varied. For the first time the optical path difference caused by the waveguides and therefore the refractive index distribution of the waveguides and their cross sections are determined using interference microscopy. The optical path difference measured in the written structures and their cross sections is analyzed by a phase-shift algorithm. Thus, the refractive index distribution both along a line perpendicular to the waveguide and in the plane of a cross section is determined. The results are visualized as 2-dimensional graphics. Several regions of opposite sign of the refractive index change are observed in the cross sections of waveguides generated by femtosecond laser pulses. The number and the size of these regions are increasing with increasing pulse energy and decreasing scan velocity.