Femtosecond Materials Processing II: Nontransparent materials

Presentation Date: 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Tsing Hua Univeristy (Beijing, China)

Presentation Slides: 

The intersection of materials research and ultrafast optical science is producing many valuable fundamental scientific results and applications, and the trend is expected to evolve as new and exciting discoveries are made. Femtosecond laser micromachining presents unique capabilities for three-dimensional, material-independent, sub-wavelength processing. At the same time the surface processing of materials permits the creation of novel materials that cannot (yet) be created under other conditions. In the first part of this talk we will discuss how when the ultashort laser pulses are focused in the bulk of transparent materials, the intensity in the focal volume can become high enough to cause nonlinear absorption of laser energy. The absorption, in turn, can lead to permanent structural or chemical changes. Such changes can be used for micromachining bulk transparent materials. Applications include data storage and the writing of waveguides and waveguide splitters in bulk glass, fabrication of micromechanical devices in polymers, and subcellular photodisruption inside single cells. In the second part we discuss how shining intense, ultrashort laser pulses on the surface of a crystalline silicon wafer drastically changes the optical, material and electronic properties of the wafer. The resulting textured surface is highly absorbing and looks black to the eye. The properties of this 'black silicon' make it useful for a wide range of commercial devices. In particular, we have been able to fabricate highly-sensitive PIN photodetectors using this material. The sensitivity extends to wavelengths of 1600 nm making them particularly useful for applications in communications and remote sensing.