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Opt Express. 2006 May 29;14(11):4826-34.

Low-loss Type II waveguide writing in fused silica with single picosecond laser pulses.


A new domain of rapid waveguide writing with non-overlapping pulses of a 1-kHz ultrashort laser is demonstrated to produce low loss waveguides in fused silica glass. This new regime is distinguishable in two ways from traditional approaches in laser waveguide writing. First, an examination of a wide 50-fs to 5-ps range of pulse duration shows the lowest loss waveguides to form in a narrow 1.0 +/- 0.2 ps window that significantly exceeds the 50 - 200 fs duration reported as optimal in other studies. Second, an unusually high scan speed of 1.0 +/- 0.2 mm/s points to a novel Type-II photosensitivity mechanism for generating low-loss refractive index structures. The waveguides comprise of an array of nearly isolated single-pulse interaction volumes that sharply contrast with the high exposures of tens to thousands of overlapping laser pulses typically applied along a slowly moving focal volume. A minimum propagation loss of ~0.2 dB/cm and a slightly asymmetric mode diameter of ~9 mum is reported for 633-nm light. The low loss waveguides fabricated with picosecond pulses enables 3-D photonics circuit fabrication with simpler and lower cost picosecond laser systems.


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