Laser processing of Silica based glass
Abstract: The main topic of this thesis work is photosensitivity and photo-structuring of optical fibers and bulk glass. Although research in the field of photosensitivity in glass and optical fibers has been ongoing for more than three decades, the underlying mechanisms are still not well understood. The objective was to gain a better understanding of the photo-response by studying photosensitivity from a thermodynamic perspective, as opposed to established research focusing on point defects and structural changes, and strain and stress in optical fibers. Optical fibers was mainly used for experimental studies for two reasons; first, photosensitivity in fibers is more pronounced and more elusive compared to its bulk counterpart, and secondly, fibers provide a simplified structure to study as they experimentally can be seen as one-dimensional.Initially, ablation experiments on bulk glass were performed using picosecond infrared pulses. With a design cross section of 40x40 ?m, straight channels were fabricated on the top (facing incident light) and bottom side of the sample and the resulting geometries were analyzed. The results show a higher sensitivity to experimental parameters for bottom side ablation which was ascribed to material incubation effects. Moreover, on the top side, the resulting geometry has a V-shape, independent of experimental parameters, related to the numerical aperture of the focusing lens, which was ascribed to shadowing effects.After this work, the focus shifted towards optical fibers, UV-induced fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) and thermal processing with conventional oven and with a CO2 laser as a source of radiant heat.First, a system for CO2 laser heating of optical fibers was constructed. For measuring the temperature of the processed fibers, a special type of FBG with high temperature stability, referred to as "Chemical Composition Grating" (CCG) was used. A thorough characterization and temperature calibration was performed and the results show the temperature dynamics with a temporal resolution of less than one millisecond. The temperature profile of the fiber and the laser beam intensity profile could be measured with a spatial resolution limited by the grating length and diameter of the fiber. Temperatures as high as ~ 1750 °C could be measured with corresponding heating and cooling rates of 10.500 K/s and 6.500 K/s.Subsequently, a thorough investigation of annealing and thermal regeneration of FBGs in standard telecommunication fibers was performed. The results show that thermal grating regeneration involves several mechanisms. For strong regeneration, an optimum annealing temperature near 900 ?C was found. Two different activation energies could be extracted from an Arrhenius of index modulation and Braggv iwavelength, having a crossing point also around 900 °C, indication a balance of two opposing mechanisms.Finally, the thermal dynamics and spectral evolution during formation of long period fiber gratings (LPGs) were investigated. The gratings were fabricated using the CO2 laser system by periodically grooving the fibers by thermal ablation. Transmission losses were reduced by carefully selecting the proper processing conditions. These parameters were identified by mapping groove depth and transmission loss to laser intensity and exposure time.
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