Ultrafast Laser Inscribed Waveguides on Chalcogenide Glasses for Photonic Applications
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Chalcogenide glasses are highly nonlinear optical materials which can be used for fabricating active and passive photonic devices. This thesis work deals with the fabrication of buried, three dimensional, channel waveguides in chalcogenide glasses, using ultrafast laser inscription technique. The femtosecond laser pulses are focused into rare earth ions doped and undoped chalcogenide glasses, few hundred microns below from the surface to modify the physical properties such as refractive index, density, etc. These changes are made use in the fabrication of active and passive photonic waveguides which have applications in integrated optics. The first chapter provides an introduction to the fundamental aspects of femtosecond laser inscription, laser interaction with matter and chalcogenide glasses for photonic applications. The advantages and applications of chalcogenide glasses are also described. Motivation and overview of the present thesis work have been discussed at the end. The methods of chalcogenide glass preparation, waveguide fabrication and characterization of the glasses investigated are described in the second chapter. Also, the details of the experiments undertaken, namely, loss (passive insertion loss) and gain measurements (active) and nanoindentation studies are outlined. Chapter three presents a study on the effect of net fluence on waveguide formation. A heat diffusion model has been used to solve the waveguide cross-section. The waveguide formation in GeGaS chalcogenide glasses using the ultrafast laser, has been analyzed in the light of a finite element thermal diffusion model. The relation between the net fluence and waveguide cross section diameter has been verified using the experimentally measured properties and theoretically predicted values. Chapter four presents a study on waveguide fabrication on Er doped Chalcogenide glass. The active and passive characterization is done and the optimal waveguide fabrication parameters are given, along with gain properties for Er doped GeGaS glass. A C-band waveguide amplifier has been demonstrated on Chalcogenide glasses using ultrafast laser inscription technique. A study on the mechanical properties of the waveguide, undertaken using the nanoindentation technique, is presented in the fifth chapter. This work brings out the close relation between the change in mechanical properties such as elastic modulus and hardness of the material under the irradiation of ultrafast laser after the waveguide formation. Also, a threshold value of the modulus and hardness for characterizing the modes of the waveguide is suggested. Finally, the chapter six provides a summary of work undertaken and also discusses the future work to be carried out.
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