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High-resolution study of photoinduced modification in fused silica produced by a tightly focused femtosecond laser beam in the presence of aberrations

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6 Author(s)
Hnatovsky, C. ; Institute for Microstructural Sciences, National Research Council, M23A, 1200 Montreal Road, Ottawa, K1A 0R6, Canada ; Taylor, R.S. ; Simova, E. ; Bhardwaj, V.R.
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An ultrahigh-resolution (20 nm) technique of selective chemical etching and atomic force microscopy has been used to study the photoinduced modification in fused silica produced at various depths by tightly focused femtosecond laser radiation affected by spherical aberration. We demonstrate that shapes of the irradiated zones near the threshold for modification can be predicted by taking proper account of spherical aberration caused by the refractive index mismatched air–silica interface. We establish a depth dependence of the pulse energy required to initiate modification and characterize the relationship between numerical aperture of the writing lens and practically achievable writing depth. We also show that spatial characteristics of the laser-modified zones can be controlled by a specially designed focusing system which allows correction for a variable amount of spherical aberration.

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Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:98 ,  Issue: 1 )