It often takes one single event to interest teenagers in a topic that will become a passion or a career. It is in this spirit that
the SPIE and OSA Student Chapters at Université Laval created the Photonic Games three years ago, to kindle an
interest in teenagers towards studies and careers in optics. The activity, offered each year to more than a hundred grade
11 students, is divided in two parts. First, we offer a hands-on workshop in their classrooms about reflection, refraction,
dispersion, birefringence and polarization. A few days later, all the students come to the <i>Centre d'optique, photonique et
laser</i> (COPL) at Université Laval for a day of competition where a volunteer physics student accompanies each team of
four students. Challenges are various to promote the qualities that make great scientists: creativity, teamwork,
knowledge, inquisitiveness, self-confidence and perseverance. The first two editions of the Photonic Games have proven
to be beneficial for the students, teachers and volunteers, and we endeavor to improve it as we construct on our
experience with the past editions to fine-tune and improve the Photonic Games concept.
In this paper we describe the fabrication of reflective spiral phase plates with a deposition system. This plate was used
to transform Gaussian beams into Laguerre-Gauss beams with angular momentum. These beams are characterized by a
helical wave front and zero intensity at center. By focusing a femtosecond Laguerre-Gauss beam with an axicon, we have
produced surface modifications in a BK7 glass sample.