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Opt Express. 2011 Aug 29;19(18):17820-33. doi: 10.1364/OE.19.017820.

High-contrast step-index waveguides in borate nonlinear laser crystals by 3D laser writing.

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School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Physics Department, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.


We report the ultrafast fabrication of high-contrast step-index channel waveguides in Nd(3+):YCa(4)O(BO(3))(3) borate laser crystals by means of 3D direct laser writing. Guiding up to 3.4 μm wavelength is demonstrated for the first time in a laser written crystalline waveguide. Modeling the measured fundamental modes at the wavelengths of 1.9 µm and 3.4 µm allowed us to estimate the high laser-induced refractive index increments (index contrasts) to be 0.010 (0.59%), and 0.005 (0.29%), respectively. Confocal µ-Raman spectral imaging of the waveguides cross-sections confirmed that the cores have very well defined step profiles, and that the increase in the refractive index can be linked to the localized creation of permanent intrinsic defects. These results indicate that this crystalline waveguides are a potential candidate for the development of 3D active waveguide circuits, due to the laser and electro-optic properties of rare earth doped borate crystals.

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