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Phys Rev Lett. 2003 Dec 12;91(24):247405. Epub 2003 Dec 11.

Self-organized nanogratings in glass irradiated by ultrashort light pulses.

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R&D Center Kagoshima, Kyocera Corporation, Kagoshima, Kokubu 899-4312, Japan.


Periodic nanostructures are observed inside silica glass after irradiation by a focused beam of a femtosecond Ti:sapphire laser. Backscattering electron images of the irradiated spot reveal a periodic structure of stripelike regions of approximately 20 nm width with a low oxygen concentration, which are aligned perpendicular to the laser polarization direction. These are the smallest embedded structures ever created by light. The period of self-organized grating structures can be controlled from approximately 140 to 320 nm by the pulse energy and the number of irradiated pulses. The phenomenon is interpreted in terms of interference between the incident light field and the electric field of the bulk electron plasma wave, resulting in the periodic modulation of electron plasma concentration and the structural changes in glass.

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