Strong birefringence tuning of optical waveguides with femtosecond laser irradiation of bulk fused silica and single mode fibers

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Paulo Vicente Marques
Stewart Aitchison,J
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Birefringence tunability is demonstrated in waveguides formed in bulk fused silica and in the core of single mode fibers, by femtosecond laser writing of stress inducing tracks that are placed with different geometries around the core of the waveguides. The femtosecond laser generated stress effect was probed by the birefringence induced spectral splitting of either Bragg grating waveguides in bulk fused silica or weakly modulated, femtosecond laser induced Bragg gratings in optical fibers. Birefringence values as low as 4 × 10 -6 and up to 2 × 10-3 were obtained by controlling the fabrication conditions such as the laser pulse energy, the writing femtosecond laser polarization, the number of overwriting exposures, and the geometry of the induced stress tracks. Wave retarders are developed and characterized by a cross polarization technique to provide the spectral response of the stress induced birefringence, offering the convenient fabrication of short length and broadband in-line polarization devices. With this approach, millimeter length tracks provided 10 nm bandwidth polarization retarders in a single mode fiber and a 65 nm bandwidth retarders in bulk fused silica. © 1983-2012 IEEE.