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Femtosecond laser induced nanoclusters in glasses for photonic applications

Final Report Summary - FEMTONANO (Femtosecond laser induced nanoclusters in glasses for photonic applications)

Context: The FLAG project
The FemtoNano FP7-PEOPLE-IIFproject coordination is provided by the group LPCES/ICMMO/UPS. The return phase is carried out at East China University of Science and Technology.
Project objectives
The objectives of the project are addressed through a coordinate research effort aimed at study the processes of the formation of either oxide based nanoclusters in silica-based glasses by means of femtosecond laser:
1) To prepare suitable glassy material for nanoclusters precipitation and define the suitable composition for micro/nanoclusters precipitation under laser irradiation;2) to control the nanoclusters size and shape, and to manipulate their distribution and orientation within the dielectric matrix. This will allow structuring the linear/non-linear optical properties in the dielectric matrix on demand.3) to study the formation mechanism of metallic or oxide in silica-based glasses by means of femtosecond laser. 4)to explore the potential applications based on glasses containing micro/nanoclusters during the return phase of the project.
Work performed (Detailed information please see the attached documents)
The first part shared with French coordinator involves the preparation of the glass matrix material suitable for nanoclusters formation and shaping. During this task the work was the preparation of suitable glassy materials for nanoclusters precipitation. We have thus synthesized and characterized various series of silica based glasses with the following compositions: Na2O-CaO-SiO2-Me (Me = Ag, Au, Eu, Sm ions) and Li2O-Nb2O5-SiO2 by conventional melting quenching technique.
The second part mainly focuses on the gold (silver) nanoparticles shaping in Au3+(Ag+)-doped silicate glasses by varying the fs laser irradiation parameters (laser wavelength, pulse energy, scanning speed, numerical aperture, polarization orientation, scanning direction).
The third part is investigation on orientational writing dependence of the laser polarization and writing velocity.
The fourth part is study of 3D photo-precipitation of oriented LiNbO3 crystals in silica based glass with femtosecond laser irradiation.
Potential applications
This project contributes to the development of new fabrication and processing technology for the fabrication of 3D nano-structured glasses. Indeed, the use of femtosecond laser-matter interaction for directly writing 3D components in various materials is a new way opening new fields. Before this project, it was already possible to fabricate common components (e.g. gratings, polarizers) but our process allow producing new structures in 3D and new original devices based on nanoclusters orientation embedded within glass matrix. Therefore, one outcome of this project assist in enabling efficient design strategies to be developed for future devices based on nanoclusters 3D precipitation and orientation mastering. For example, devices such as polarizer, diffractive optics, waveguides, sensors, frequency doubling devices, photonic crystals and even metamaterials can be developed. Such components will allow developing advanced applications in various fields such as integrated-optics, nano-optics, optical components, optoelectronics or bio-photonics.