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Product Code: PIC06_M302

Active Devices Fabricated in Bulk Glass via Femtosecond Laser Pulses
Graham Marshall, Macquarie University; Sydney Australia
James Piper, Macquarie University; Sydney Australia
Martin Ams, Macquarie University; Sydney Australia
Michael J. Withford, Macquarie University; Sydney Australia
Presented at PICALO 2006

With the goal of fabricating photonic devices for optical networking applications, significant attention has recently been directed to the use of femtosecond laser pulses for inscribing optical components inside transparent materials. In 1996 it was shown that tightly focused infrared femtosecond laser pulses induced a refractive index change inside a glass sample. By moving a polished sample perpendicularly through the focal point of these high-intensity pulses, waveguides of arbitrary length and design can be fabricated. We have demonstrated that these waveguides can be written in a range of glass materials such as silica and (doped and un-doped) phosphate glasses. Waveguides written in active glasses can be used as single pass amplifiers or as compact laser sources following the addition of cavity reflectors. In our most recent experiments we fabricated low-loss (0.39 dB/cm) optical waveguides in non-doped phosphate glass; these results represent the lowest reported losses in this material and will enable the manufacture of high gain amplifiers and lasers in erbium doped or erbium/ytterbium co-doped phosphate glass. Further characteristics of these waveguides, amplifiers and lasers will be presented.

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