Femtosecond laser irradiation has various noticeable effects on fused silica. It can locally increase the index of refraction or modify the material chemical selectivity. Regions that have been exposed to the laser are etched several times faster than unexposed regions. Various observations reported in the literature seem to show that these effects are possibly related to a combination of structural changes and the presence of internal stress. However, a detailed analysis of the contribution of both effects is still lacking.
In this paper, we present systematic SEM-based investigations performed on fused silica (a-SiO2). Line-patterns were first scanned on the substrate using a femtosecond laser and then etched in a low-concentration HF solution. The effects of various laser parameters like power and scanning speed are analyzed and we show further evidence of an interface between two different etching regimes.
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Bellouard, Y., Said, A.A., Dugan, M. et al. Investigation of Femtosecond Laser Irradiation on Fused Silica Etching Selectivity. MRS Online Proceedings Library 850, 158–163 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-850-MM5.1