The nonlinear interactions of femtosecond lasers are driving multiple new application directions for nanopatterning and structuring of thin transparent dielectric films that serve in range of technological fields. Fresnel reflections generated by film interfaces were recently shown to confine strong nonlinear interactions at the Fabry-Perot fringe maxima to generate thin nanoscale plasma disks of 20 to 40 nm thickness stacked on half wavelength spacing, λ/2nfilm, inside a film (refractive index, nfilm). The following phase-explosion and ablation dynamics have resulted in a novel means for intrafilm processing that includes ‘quantized’ half-wavelength machining steps and formation of blisters with embedded nanocavities. This paper presents an extension in the control of interferometric laser processing around our past study of Si3N4 and SiOx thin films at 515 nm, 800 nm, and 1044 nm laser wavelengths. The role of laser polarization and incident angle is explored on fringe visibility and improving interferometric processing inside the film to dominate over interface and / or surface ablation. SiOx thin films of 1 μm thickness on silicon substrates were irradiated with a 515 nm wavelength, 280 fs duration laser pulses at 0° to 65° incident angles. A significant transition in ablation region from complete film removal to structured quantized ejection is reported for p- and s-polarised light that is promising to improve control and expand the versatility of the technique to a wider range of applications and materials. The research is aimed at creating novel bio-engineered surfaces for cell culture, bacterial studies and regenerative medicine, and nanofluidic structures that underpin lab-in-a-film. Similarly, the formation of intrafilm blisters and nanocavities offers new opportunities in structuring existing thin film devices, such as CMOS microelectronics, LED, lab-on-chips, and MEMS.
David M. Roper, Stephen Ho, Moez Haque, and Peter R. Herman, "Control of femtosecond laser interference ejection with angle and polarisation," Proc. SPIE 10094, Frontiers in Ultrafast Optics: Biomedical, Scientific, and Industrial Applications XVII, 100940T (Presented at SPIE LASE: January 30, 2017; Published: 15 March 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2256995.
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