Direct UV writing is a technique capable of fabricating low-loss channel waveguides, couplers and Bragg gratings in planar silica devices by translating an appropriate substrate through a tightly focused UV beam. To date direct UV written waveguides have been primarily formed using 244nm laser light, relying on the photosensitivity provided by doping with germanium and boron. To induce sufficient refractive index change, necessary for wave guiding, the substrates also require hydrogenation prior to UV writing. Not only does this require additional processing but over time the hydrogen present within the silica out-diffuses, which can cause variation of the final written structures. Deep-UV light, with a wavelength of 213 nm, has previously been used to inscribe strong fibre Bragg gratings (FBGs) in hydrogen-free Ge-doped fibres. Here we present the use of a 213 nm UV laser to write planar waveguide devices without the need for hydrogen loading.
Flame Hydrolysis Deposition (FHD) was used to deposit core and cladding layers of doped silica onto a thermally oxidised silicon wafer. Individual planar chips were diced from this wafer and a 5th harmonic Q-switched solid state laser operating at 213 nm wavelength was used to inscribe waveguides within the germanium-doped core layer of the chips without prior hydrogen loading.
We shall present our latest results of direct deep-UV written waveguides, including; the characterisation of single mode waveguides, detailed fluence and loss measurements, induced refractive index change and the first demonstration of planar Bragg gratings and photonic structures written with 213nm light.