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Fabrication and characterization of femtosecond laser-written waveguides in flexible glass
Keywords: Waveguide fabrication, Femtosecond laser writing, In-situ structural analysis
Direct writing of waveguides with femtosecond (fs) laser pulses is a promising tool for applications ranging from fabricating quantum photonic circuits [1] to all-optical routing/switching [2]. Femtosecond laser writing of photonic components on flexible glass is particularly important, since mechanical flexibility can be used to tune operational wavelengths of photonic circuits [3] and integrate photonic sensors into biological tissues [4]. However, the physical mechanisms of waveguide formation are not well understood, so further experimental studies are needed to characterize the writing process for more advanced applications. In this study, we use 1 kHz, 800 nm, 45 fs laser pulses to fabricate waveguides in 200-um thick flexible Willow glass (Corning) substrates by tuning laser parameters, such as pulse energy (1.5 uJ to 3.5 uJ) and writing speeds (20 um/s to 40 um/s). First, waveguide functionality is demonstrated by directly coupling the fs beam, which yields a localized Gaussian mode at the waveguide output with a diameter of ~ 5 um, measured with a charge coupled device camera. Second, we characterize the fabrication process by measuring micron-scale structural changes on fs time scales with techniques based on digital in-line holography (ILH) [5]. Refractive index distributions of waveguides are characterized via ILH, yielding an average refractive index change due to fabrication of ~ 8x10^(-4) and an average waveguide diameter of ~ 10 um.
Rostislav I. Grynko, PhD student
Binghamton University
Johnson City, New York

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