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Writing waveguides inside monolithic crystalline silicon with nanosecond laser pulses

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Abstract

Direct three-dimensional (3D) laser writing of waveguides is highly advanced in a wide range of bandgap materials, but has no equivalent in silicon so far. We show that nanosecond laser single-pass irradiation is capable of producing channel micro-modifications deep into crystalline silicon. With an appropriate shot overlap, a relative change of the refractive index exceeding 103 is obtained without apparent nonuniformity at the micrometer scale. Despite the remaining challenge of propagation losses, we show that the created structures form, to the best of our knowledge, the first laser-written waveguides in the bulk of monolithic silicon samples. This paves the way toward the capability of producing 3D architectures for the rapidly growing field of silicon photonics.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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