Compact birefringent waveplates photo-induced in silica by femtosecond laser

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Journal Article
Micromachines, 2014, 5 (4), pp. 825 - 838
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© 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Recently, we showed that femtosecond laser induced "nanogratings" consist of thin regions with a low refractive index (Δn = -0.15), due to the formation of nanoporous silica surrounded by regions with a positive index change. In this paper, we investigate a wide range of laser parameters to achieve very high retardance within a single layer; as much as 350 nm at λ = 546 nm but also to minimize the competing losses. We show that the total retardance depends on the number of layers present and can be accumulated in the direction of laser propagation to values higher than 1600 nm. This opens the door to using these nanostructures as refined building blocks for novel optical elements based on strong retardance.
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