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Erasure and formation of femtosecond laser-induced nanostructures

: Zimmermann, F.; Plech, A.; Richter, S.; Tünnermann, Andreas; Nolte, Stefan


Heisterkamp, A. ; Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers -SPIE-, Bellingham/Wash.:
Frontiers in Ultrafast Optics: Biomedical, Scientific, and Industrial Applications XV : 8 - 10 February 2015, San Francisco, California, United States
Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 2015 (Proceedings of SPIE 9355)
ISBN: 978-1-62841-445-5
Paper 935512, 6 S.
Conference "Frontiers in Ultrafast Optics - Biomedical, Scientific, and Industrial Applications" <15, 2015, San Francisco/Calif.>
Fraunhofer IOF ()

The local inscription of strong birefringence by ultrashort laser pulses facilitates the fabrication of manifold photonic devices, such as data storage devices. One intriguing feature of these nanograting-based data units is to delete and rewrite new nanograting voxels by changing the laser polarization orientation during inscription. However, up to now no comprehensive picture of this complex physical process exists. Thus we performed optical retardance measurements as well as microscopic analyses, such as small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to address this issue. Our results reveal that only few laser pulses already lead to an erasure of nanometric pores which is mapped by the total (X-ray) scattering volume as well as by the strong reduction of the initial form birefringence. Simultaneously, new nanostructures form which arrange in individual grating planes with ongoing irradiation. However, since the rewrite process is no ideal mechanism some of the old sheets remain, which perturb the quality of the new nanograting. When rewriting multiple times the glass becomes even more porous due to repetitive annealing and quenching. This promotes the formation of new inhomogeneities and in turn leads to an increase in optical retardance.