Femtosecond laser inscription of depressed cladding single-mode mid-infrared waveguides in sapphire

Opt Lett. 2019 Jan 1;44(1):37-40. doi: 10.1364/OL.44.000037.


Mid-infrared optical waveguides were inscribed in sapphire with femtosecond pulses at 515 nm. We show that such pulses induce a smooth negative refractive index change allowing for the inscription of a depressed cladding waveguide by closely overlapping the corresponding type I modification traces. The resulting structure consists of a highly symmetrical, uniform, and homogeneous waveguide. The size and numerical aperture of the waveguides were tailored to achieve efficient transmission in the mid-infrared. Single mode operation at a wavelength of 2850 nm and propagation loss of <0.37 dB/cm are reported for a 33 mm long depressed cladding waveguide. Thermal annealing was performed, and the refractive index contrast was still preserved to 50% (i.e., Δn=∼2.5×10-3) up to 1400°C.