Innovative Ultrafast Laser Solutions

Innovative Ultrafast Laser Solutions

Introduction to Waveguides

You can manufacture single mode waveguides in materials with femtosecond lasers. At 775 nm, glass is transparent to incident light. Our micromachining technology uses ultrafast laser pulses to locally melt the glass via confined multiphoton absorption and avalanche ionization inside the bulk material. The glass then resolidifies, changing its physical properties. The result is an index gradient that acts like a waveguide. A beam of light propagating along the same path in the glass will be guided in the same manner as an index-guided fiber guides light inside it.

Only ultrafast lasers are capable of producing this effect in transparent materials. With longer pulse lasers (nanoseconds), the sample damages before the intensity reaches the threshold at which guides are formed. The picture below shows the output of a waveguide made in glass on a far-field screen using a HeNe laser. The waveguide can be made either single mode or multimode.

Waveguides

The image below is an artist's rendering of the waveguide concepts described above.

Waveguides


Note: Color was added to the waveguide for illustrative purposes only. In reality, scattering losses are extremely low and the beam is NOT visible while propagating inside the waveguide.

Photo Gallery: Explore the possibilities of using ultrafast lasers to manufacture 3D features in the bulk of transparent materials.

All the images below show samples of linear and 3D features that were written in our micromachining job shop using the Clark-MXR, Inc. femtosecond direct write source.

Note: All images were taken with a digital camera and have not been re-touched.

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