7 March 2014 Monolithic hybrid optics for focusing ultrashort laser pulses
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Abstract
Almost any application of ultrashort laser pulses involves focusing them in order to reach high intensities and/or small spot sizes as needed for micro-machining or Femto-LASIK. Hence, it is indispensable to be able to understand pulse front distortion caused by real world optics. Focusing causes pulse front distortion due to aberrations, dispersion and diffraction. Thus, the spatio-temporal profile of ultrashort laser is altered, which increases automatically the pulse duration and the focusing spot. Consequently, the main advantage of having ultrashort laser pulses – pulse durations way below 100 fs - can be lost in that one last step of the experimental set-up by focusing them unfavorable. Since compensating for dispersion, aberration and diffraction effects is quite complicated and not always possible, we pursue a different approach. We present a specially designed monolithic hybrid optics comprising refraction and diffraction effects for tight spatial and temporal focusing of ultrashort laser pulses. Both aims can be put into practice by having a high numerical aperture (NA = 0.35) and low internal dispersion at the same time. The focusing properties are very promising, due to a design, which provides diffraction limited focusing for 100 nm bandwidth at 780 nm center wavelength. Thus, pulses with durations as short as 10 fs can be focused without pulse front distortion. The outstanding performance of this optics is shown in theory and experimentally. Above that, such focusing optics are easily adapted to their special purpose - changing the center wavelength, achromatic bandwidth or even correcting for focusing into material is possible.
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U. Fuchs, "Monolithic hybrid optics for focusing ultrashort laser pulses", Proc. SPIE 8972, Frontiers in Ultrafast Optics: Biomedical, Scientific, and Industrial Applications XIV, 89721C (7 March 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2039560; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2039560
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