Writing waveguides in glass with a femtosecond laser

Opt Lett. 1996 Nov 1;21(21):1729-31. doi: 10.1364/ol.21.001729.


With the goal of being able to create optical devices for the telecommunications industry, we investigated the effects of 810-nm, femtosecond laser radiation on various glasses. By focusing the laser beam through a microscope objective, we successfully wrote transparent, but visible, round-elliptical damage lines inside highsilica, borate, soda lime silicate, and f luorozirconate (ZBLAN) bulk glasses. Microellipsometer measurements of the damaged region in the pure and Ge-doped silica glasses showed a 0.01-0.035 refractive-index increase, depending on the radiation dose. The formation of several defects, including Si E' or Ge E' centers, nonbridging oxygen hole centers, and peroxy radicals, was also detected. These results suggest that multiphoton interactions occur in the glasses and that it may be possible to write three-dimensional optical circuits in bulk glasses with such a focused laser beam technique.