A transmission electron microscopy study of nanogratings formed in bulk amorphous silica by direct writing with an ultrafast pulsed laser with a radiation wavelength of 1030 nm and pulse duration of 560 fs is presented. The results achieved show that the nanogratings are composed of planar nanostructures with an average periodicity of 250 nm and typical thickness of about 30 nm, consisting of alternating layers of heavily damaged material and layers of material where a dense precipitation of nanocrystals occurred. The crystallization of silica to form these nanocrystals can be explained by the large pressures and temperatures reached in these regions as a result of nanoplasma formation and recombination.
Collaboration with Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Lisboa, ICEMS—Instituto de Ciência e Engenharia de Materiais e Superfícies, and Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal.
Vitor Oliveira, Sahendra P. Sharma, Pilar Herrero, and Rui Vilar, «Transformations induced in bulk amorphous silica by ultrafast laser direct writing,» Opt. Lett. 38, 4950 (2013).