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Opt Express. 2011 Mar 28;19(7):5725-34. doi: 10.1364/OE.19.005725.

Time-resolved interferometry of femtosecond-laser-induced processes under tight focusing and close-to-optical breakdown inside borosilicate glass.

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Center for Optical Research and Education (CORE), Utsunomiya University, Utsunomiya, Japan.


We use an interferometric time-resolved observation of a femtosecond-laser pulse (800 nm/45 fs) interaction with glass from 100 fs to 10 ns at spatial lateral resolution down to the wavelength of the pulse. The phase and amplitude images reveal sequence of events after the irradiation of a single ultra-short laser pulse at close-to-threshold intensity when permanent refractive index changes occur. The proposed method is applicable to characterization of the processes induced by tightly focused fs-laser pulses during three-dimensional structuring of glasses and crystals for fundamental studies and optical applications. Generation of carriers, thermal expansion, generation and propagation of shockwaves, and formation of refractive index changes are experimentally observed and resolved in time and space with the highest resolution. Quantitative estimations of the threshold energies of different processes are achieved. The threshold energy of carrier generation is found the same as that of shockwave generation while the threshold energy of refractive index changes was by 40% higher. Application potential of the method is discussed.

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