The light–energy coupling during femtosecond laser processing of glass is mediated by non-linear ionization mechanisms through the formation of an electron plasma. Its transient optical properties provide information about the density, temperature and scattering rate of the excited electrons. In turn, these properties strongly condition the features and size of the permanent optical modification near the focal volume that are desirable to fabricate photonic devices, such as optical waveguides inside transparent materials. Here, we report on the spectral response of a fs-laser-induced electron plasma inside fused silica by measuring its transient transmission using a broadband probe. We model the interaction of the probe beam with the plasma by combining Drude–Sommerfeld model with Gaussian optics. In this manner, we take into account both the laser–plasma interaction and the influence of the chromatic aberration inherent to a broadband-based system. We find good agreement between experiments at several processing energies and simulations and provide an estimate of the dielectric function of the excited material.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Applied Physics A: Materials Science and Processing|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|