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Applied Optics

Applied Optics

APPLICATIONS-CENTERED RESEARCH IN OPTICS

  • Vol. 45, Iss. 1 — Jan. 1, 2006
  • pp: 162–171

Efficient laser polishing of silica micro-optic components

Krzysztof M. Nowak, Howard J. Baker, and Denis R. Hall  »View Author Affiliations


Applied Optics, Vol. 45, Issue 1, pp. 162-171 (2006)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/AO.45.000162


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Abstract

We report a study of the basic characteristics of laser polishing of fused silica with a protocol that is particularly suitable for surface smoothing of micro-optic elements fabricated by a laser ablation process. We describe a new, to our knowledge, approach based on scanning a highly controlled small size laser beam and melting areas of tens to hundreds of micrometers of glass using a computer-controlled raster scan process, which does not require beam shaping, substrate preheating, or special atmospheres. Special test samples of silica substrates with prescribed spatial frequency content were polished using a range of irradiation conditions with the beam from a well-controlled CO 2 laser operating at a wavelength of 10.59 μ m . An analysis is presented of the laser-generated reduction in surface roughness in terms of measurements of the spatial frequency characteristics, and the results are compared with the predictions of a simple model of surface-tension-driven mass flow within the laser-melted layer. This technique is shown to be capable of smoothing silica surfaces with 1 μ m scale roughness down to levels < 1   nm with no net effect on the as-machined net surface shape, at realistic production rates without a preheating stage, and with noncritical residual stresses.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(000.2190) General : Experimental physics
(120.4610) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Optical fabrication
(120.5820) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Scattering measurements
(220.4000) Optical design and fabrication : Microstructure fabrication
(220.5450) Optical design and fabrication : Polishing
(350.3390) Other areas of optics : Laser materials processing

ToC Category:
Instrumentation, Measurement, and Metrology

Virtual Issues
Vol. 1, Iss. 2 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Citation
Krzysztof M. Nowak, Howard J. Baker, and Denis R. Hall, "Efficient laser polishing of silica micro-optic components," Appl. Opt. 45, 162-171 (2006)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/ao/abstract.cfm?URI=ao-45-1-162

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