Sub-picosecond ultraviolet laser filamentation-induced bulk modifications in fused silica
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We present experiments with sub-picosecond ultraviolet laser pulses (248 nm, 450 fs) tightly focused in the bulk of fused-silica samples. The high laser intensities attained generate plasma through multi-photon absorption and electron avalanche processes in the bulk of the material. Depending on the initial experimental conditions three distinct types of structural changes in the material are observed, from small changes of the refractive index to birefringence, and even cracks and voids. We also observe the creation of micro-channels, up to 115 μm in length, inside the material due to self-guiding and filamentation of the laser pulses in the transparent material. The selective change of the refractive index is a promising method for the fabrication of photonic structures such as waveguides and three-dimensional integrated optical devices.
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