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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: Andrew M. Weiner
  • Vol. 21, Iss. 13 — Jul. 1, 2013
  • pp: 15505–15513
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Continuous modulations of femtosecond laser-induced periodic surface structures and scanned line-widths on silicon by polarization changes

Weina Han, Lan Jiang, Xiaowei Li, Pengjun Liu, Le Xu, and YongFeng Lu  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 21, Issue 13, pp. 15505-15513 (2013)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.21.015505


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Abstract

Large-area, uniform laser-induced periodic surface structures (LIPSS) are of wide potential industry applications. The continuity and processing precision of LIPSS are mainly determined by the scanning intervals of adjacent scanning lines. Therefore, continuous modulations of LIPSS and scanned line-widths within one laser scanning pass are of great significance. This study proposes that by varying the laser (800 nm, 50 fs, 1 kHz) polarization direction, LIPSS and the scanned line-widths on a silicon (111) surface can be continuously modulated with high precision. It shows that the scanned line-width reaches the maximum when the polarization direction is perpendicular to the scanning direction. As an application example, the experiments show large-area, uniform LIPSS can be fabricated by controlling the scanning intervals based on the one-pass scanned line-widths. The simulation shows that the initially formed LIPSS structures induce directional surface plasmon polaritons (SPP) scattering along the laser polarization direction, which strengthens the subsequently anisotropic LIPSS fabrication. The simulation results are in good agreement with the experiments, which both support the conclusions of continuous modulations of the LIPSS and scanned line-widths.

© 2013 OSA

1. Introduction

Although traditional nanolithography is of great potentials for nanoscale devices fabrication, the process is very complicated [1

1. S. Hong, J. Zhu, and C. A. Mirkin, “Multiple ink nanolithography: toward a multiple-pen nano-plotter,” Science 286(5439), 523–525 (1999). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. Self-organized structures provide simpler and cheaper ways [2

2. U. Lüders, F. Sánchez, and J. Fontcuberta, “Self-organized structures in CoCr2O4 (001) thin films: tunable growth from pyramidal clusters to {111} fully faceted surface,” Phys. Rev. B 70(4), 045403 (2004). [CrossRef]

]. A recent developed method of self-structuring, laser induced periodic surface structures (LIPSS, also referred to as ripples) have been extensively studied for various materials, including semiconductors [3

3. H. Yuan, V. Yost, M. Page, P. Stradins, D. Meier, and H. Branz, “Efficient black silicon solar cell with adensity-graded nanoporous surface: optical properties, performance limitations, and design rules,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 95(12), 123501 (2009). [CrossRef]

,4

4. J. Bonse and J. Krüger, “Pulse number dependence of laser-induced periodic surface structures for femtosecond laser irradiation of silicon,” J. Appl. Phys. 108(3), 034903 (2010). [CrossRef]

], metals [5

5. A. Vorobyev and C. Guo, “Colorizing metals with femtosecond laser pulses,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 92(4), 041914 (2008). [CrossRef]

,6

6. T. Hwang and C. Guo, “Angular effects of nanostructure-covered femtosecond laser induced periodic surface structures on metals,” J. Appl. Phys. 108(7), 073523 (2010). [CrossRef]

], and dielectrics [7

7. J. Li, S. Ho, M. Haque, and P. Herman, “Nanogratingbragg responses of femtosecond laser written optical waveguides in fused silica glass,” Opt. Mater. Express 2(11), 1562–1570 (2012). [CrossRef]

10

10. F. Liang, R. Vallée, and L. Chin, “Pulse fluence dependent nanograting inscription on the surface of fused silica,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 100(25), 251105 (2012). [CrossRef]

], for their promising applications in solar cells [3

3. H. Yuan, V. Yost, M. Page, P. Stradins, D. Meier, and H. Branz, “Efficient black silicon solar cell with adensity-graded nanoporous surface: optical properties, performance limitations, and design rules,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 95(12), 123501 (2009). [CrossRef]

], waveguides [7

7. J. Li, S. Ho, M. Haque, and P. Herman, “Nanogratingbragg responses of femtosecond laser written optical waveguides in fused silica glass,” Opt. Mater. Express 2(11), 1562–1570 (2012). [CrossRef]

], colorization [5

5. A. Vorobyev and C. Guo, “Colorizing metals with femtosecond laser pulses,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 92(4), 041914 (2008). [CrossRef]

,11

11. B. Dusser, Z. Sagan, H. Soder, N. Faure, J. P. Colombier, M. Jourlin, and E. Audouard, “Controlled nanostructrures formation by ultra fast laser pulses for color marking,” Opt. Express 18(3), 2913–2924 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

], light extracting surfaces in light emitting diodes (LED) [12

12. J. T. Chen, W. C. Lai, Y. J. Kao, Y. Y. Yang, and J. K. Sheu, “Laser-induced periodic structures for light extraction efficiency enhancement of GaN-based light emitting diodes,” Opt. Express 20(5), 5689–5695 (2012). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

], surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) [13

13. L. Jiang, D. Ying, X. Li, and Y. Lu, “Two-step femtosecond laser pulse train fabrication of nanostructured substrates for highly surface-enhanced Raman scattering,” Opt. Lett. 37(17), 3648–3650 (2012). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

], and water-repellent surfaces [14

14. V. Zorba, E. Stratakis, M. Barberoglou, E. Spanakis, P. Tzanetakis, S. Anastasiadis, and C. Fotakis, “Biomimetic artificial surfaces quantitatively reproduce the water repellency,” Adv. Mater. 20(21), 4049–4054 (2008). [CrossRef]

,15

15. I. Martín-Fabiani, E. Rebollar, S. Pérez, D. R. Rueda, M. C. García-Gutiérrez, A. Szymczyk, Z. Roslaniec, M. Castillejo, and T. A. Ezquerra, “Laser-induced periodic surface structures nanofabricated on poly(trimethylene terephthalate) spin-coated films,” Langmuir 28(20), 7938–7945 (2012). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. All the applications require the formation of well-defined large-area, uniform LIPSS. However, high precision formation of LIPSS remains a big challenge, which limits industry applications. Compared to other physical and chemical methods for preparations of large-area, uniform nanoscale structures [16

16. K. Q. Peng, Z. P. Huang, and J. Zhu, “Fabrication of Large-Area Silicon Nanowire p–n Junction Diode Arrays,” Adv. Mater. 16(1), 73–76 (2004). [CrossRef]

], direct laser-scanning-induced LIPSS on a material’s surface using femtosecond (fs) pulses is quite simple and efficient, which open new possibilities for nanofabrication [11

11. B. Dusser, Z. Sagan, H. Soder, N. Faure, J. P. Colombier, M. Jourlin, and E. Audouard, “Controlled nanostructrures formation by ultra fast laser pulses for color marking,” Opt. Express 18(3), 2913–2924 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

,17

17. M. Huang, F. Zhao, Y. Cheng, N. Xu, and Z. Xu, “Large area uniform nanostructures fabricated by direct femtosecond laser ablation,” Opt. Express 16(23), 19354–19365 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

19

19. H. W. Choi, D. F. Farson, J. Bovatsek, A. Arai, and D. Ashkenasi, “Direct-write patterning of indium-tin-oxide film by high pulse repetition frequency femtosecond laser ablation,” Appl. Opt. 46(23), 5792–5799 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. As a key parameter, the scanning interval is of great importance in the formation of large-area, uniform LIPSS, which significantly affects the continuity of the LIPSS and the processing efficiency. Therefore, it is important to study the scanned line-width, which determines the scanning intervals during the laser-scanning-induced large-area LIPSS fabrication.

In this study, the scanned line-widths modulation based on polarization changes is investigated. It is shown the scanned line-width reaches the maximum when the polarization direction is perpendicular to the scanning direction. The minimum scanned line-width is obtained with the polarization direction parallel to the scanning direction. Meanwhile, when the polarization direction (α) is tuned between 0° and 90°, the scanned line-width can be flexibly modulated continuously. To show this polarization-dependent scanned line-width application, we further show the large-area, uniform LIPSS formation by controlling the scanning directions and polarization directions, which greatly improves the processing efficiency and precision. We try to interpret this phenomenon in terms of the anisotropic SPP scattered by the initially formed LIPSS. The simulation also confirms the dominant role of the initially formed ripples. Furthermore, based on the numerical simulation, the geometrical morphology of the LIPSS under static fs laser irradiation can be continuously modulated by polarization directions.

2. Experimental setup

In the experimental arrangement (as shown in Fig. 1
Fig. 1 Schematic diagram of the experimental setup. The insert depicts the relative angle between directions of the linearly polarized fs laser and the sample coordinate. HWP: half-wave plate; P: polarizer; S1: shutter; WS: white-light source; BS: beam splitter; L1: convex lens; DM: dichroic mirror; L2: achromatic doublet; S2: sample.
), the laser source is a Ti:sapphire laser regenerative amplifier system, which provides a fundamental Gaussian mode with a central wavelength of 800 nm, pulse duration of 50 fs, and repetition rate of 1 kHz. An achromatic half-wave plate and a linear polarizer are used to control the laser fluence incident on the sample surface. Another half-wave plate is used to change the polarization direction of the incident laser pulses. The pulse number (N) delivered to the sample is controlled by a fast mechanical shutter synchronized with the laser repetition rate. The laser light travels through the dichroic mirror (DM) and is focused through an achromatic doublet (f = 100mm) on the surface of the sample. The focal spot size (D) (width at the waist defined by 1/e2 point) of the Gaussian beam, which is close to the beam diameter in the sample processing plane under good focused conditions, is measured as 60 μm. The highly polished silicon (111) sample (10 mm × 10 mm × 1mm) is mounted on a computer-controlled, six-axis moving stage (M-840.5DG, PI, Inc.) with a positioning accuracy of 1μm in the x and y directions and 0.5 μm in the z direction. To observe the fabrication process, a charge coupled device (CCD) camera along with a white-light source is used to image the sample surface. All experiments are carried out in air at room temperature. After irradiation, the surface morphology is characterized by a scanning electron microscope (SEM).

3. Results and discussion

3.1. Continuous modulations of scanned line-width for potential large-area uniform LIPSS formation

Using the proposed method, we can precisely control large-area, uniform LIPSS formation by properly adjusting the interval of two adjacent scanning lines. Therefore, appropriate intervals of the scanning lines are prerequisite for the formation of a large-area, uniform LIPSS. In this study, we control the scanning interval corresponding to the scanned line-width, which is shown in Fig. 2. As shown in Fig. 3
Fig. 3 Scanning time, with the scanning area of 1 × 1 mm2, shown as a function of directions of linearly polarized laser. The pulse energy, repetition rate, and scanning speed are fixed at 0.75 J/cm2, 250 Hz, and 500μm/s, respectively. The inserts show the SEM images of the scanning LIPSS; the blue arrow and red arrow indicate the polarization direction and the scanning direction, respectively.
, the 1 × 1 mm2 area can be produced with various processing times, in which the polarization directions range from 0° to 90°, at the fixed pulse energy, repetition rate, scanning speed, and identical scanning directions in the aforementioned experiment, with different polarization-based scanning intervals based on the above research results. When the polarization direction (α = 0°) is perpendicular to the scanning direction, the scanning time can be reduced from 220 s to 170 s compared with the scanning time at 90°-polarization, as the scanning interval is the maximum. While, with the polarization parallel to the scanning direction, the large-area uniform LIPSS processing is the most time-consuming. The processing time ratio of [170 s (0°)]/[220 s (90°)] is 0.77, which is consistent with the aforementioned scanned line-width of the orthogonally polarized directions. Therefore, the processing efficiency and precision can be improved by optimizing the scanning directions and the polarization directions. Meanwhile, by precisely selecting the scanning interval based on the scanned line-width with only one pass, the respective scanning lines and the “overhatch” effect [17

17. M. Huang, F. Zhao, Y. Cheng, N. Xu, and Z. Xu, “Large area uniform nanostructures fabricated by direct femtosecond laser ablation,” Opt. Express 16(23), 19354–19365 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

] can be eliminated, so that the continuity of the LIPSS can be precisely controlled, which is very beneficial in applications.

3.2. Numerical simulation and potential theoretical analysis

In order to comprehensively explain the physical mechanism, we have calculated the electric field distribution on a grooved surface (i.e., the surface with periodic ripples) by using a commercial finite-element-method software, COMSOL MultiPhysics. It is assumed that three grooves have been produced on the surface of the silicon along they axis as a result of initial ripple formation. The geometry of the grooves can be described by four parameters, l, w, h, and d, which denote the length, width, depth, and the period of the grooves, as depicted in Fig. 4(a)
Fig. 4 (a) Schematic demonstration of the SPP scattering of the initially formed grooves (ripples) with different polarization directions on the surface of the silicon that is employed in numerical simulation. (b) The calculated electric field distributions based on SPP scattering on the surface of grooves whose structural parameters are chosen to be w = 0.4 μm, d = 0.7 μm, h = 0.1 μm, l = 2 μm. (c)Schematic diagram of the laser scanned line-width modulations with partial polarization directions.
. Under the irradiation of fs laser pulses, the normal state of the complex refractive index of silicon is dramatically modified due to the high density of photogenerated carriers [28

28. G. Obara, N. Maeda, T. Miyanishi, M. Terakawa, N. N. Nedyalkov, and M. Obara, “Plasmonic and mie scattering control of far-field interference for regular ripple formation on various material substrates,” Opt. Express 19(20), 19093–19103 (2011). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

,32

32. J. Bonse, A. Rosenfeld, and J. Krüger, “Implications of transient changes of optical and surface properties of solids during femtosecond laser pulse irradiation to the formation of laser-induced periodic surface structures,” Appl. Surf. Sci. 257(12), 5420–5423 (2011). [CrossRef]

]. Since the laser fluences in this study are just above the damage threshold of silicon, the real part of the refractive index remains nearly unchanged while a significant increase in κ is expected. Therefore, the complex refractive index of silicon is chosen to be n = 3.4 + i0.5 [32

32. J. Bonse, A. Rosenfeld, and J. Krüger, “Implications of transient changes of optical and surface properties of solids during femtosecond laser pulse irradiation to the formation of laser-induced periodic surface structures,” Appl. Surf. Sci. 257(12), 5420–5423 (2011). [CrossRef]

]. The fixed complex refractive index makes our numerical simulations a semiqualitative theoretical analysis to the anisotropic phenomenon. In the numerical simulation, the laser beam polarized along the x axis is normally incident on the silicon surface, and the electric field (E) distribution of SPP scattered on the surface of the grooves is shown in Fig. 4(b). The diameter of the laser beam is assumed to be much larger than the area with grooves. Based on experimental observations, we fixed w, d, h, and l to be 0.4, 0.7, 0.1 and 2 μm. The fringes formed induce the subsequent SPP scattering. Equally strengthened SPP are scattered toward the left and right sides of the grooves, which are perpendicular (parallel to the polarization direction) to the orientation of ripples. Therefore, along the laser beam polarization direction, the formation of the subsequent ripple structures is strengthened due to the enhancement of the SPP scattering. However, in the perpendicular direction, the LIPSS formation is difficult due to the weakening of the SPP scattering. This strengthened directional SPP scattering leads to the elongated ablated areas with surface ripple structures along the laser polarization so that the maximum line widths can be achieved when the polarization direction is perpendicular to the scanning direction. Figure 4(c) shows a schematic illustration for the scanned line-width modulations with partial polarization directions. It illustrates that during the variation of polarization directions, the LIPSS formation keeps directional formation along the laser polarization directions all the cases, which lead to the directional line width.

3.3. Continuous modulations of the LIPSS geometrical morphology under static fs laser irradiation

4. Conclusion

This study proposes an effective new method to continuously modulate fs laser LIPSS and scanned line-widths by polarization changes. When the laser polarization is perpendicular to the scanning direction, the maximum scanned line-width is obtained. When the polarization direction is parallel to the scanning direction, the scanned line-width reaches its minimum. The simulation results show that the directional scattering of SPP by the initially formed surface ripple structures strengthens the subsequent LIPSS fabrication along the laser polarization, which interprets the aforementioned phenomenon. Furthermore, the simulation is in agreement with the experimental results of anisotropic geometrical morphologies of LIPSS under static fs laser irradiation with different polarizations, which strongly supports the proposed method of continuous modulations of LIPSS and scanned line-widths. The effect of pulse number on the anisotropic morphology of LIPSS is also investigated. The asymmetry (ellipticity) decreases as the pulse number increases.

Acknowledgments

This research is supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) (grant 2011CB013000) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (grants 90923039 and 51025521).

References and links

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S. Hong, J. Zhu, and C. A. Mirkin, “Multiple ink nanolithography: toward a multiple-pen nano-plotter,” Science 286(5439), 523–525 (1999). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

2.

U. Lüders, F. Sánchez, and J. Fontcuberta, “Self-organized structures in CoCr2O4 (001) thin films: tunable growth from pyramidal clusters to {111} fully faceted surface,” Phys. Rev. B 70(4), 045403 (2004). [CrossRef]

3.

H. Yuan, V. Yost, M. Page, P. Stradins, D. Meier, and H. Branz, “Efficient black silicon solar cell with adensity-graded nanoporous surface: optical properties, performance limitations, and design rules,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 95(12), 123501 (2009). [CrossRef]

4.

J. Bonse and J. Krüger, “Pulse number dependence of laser-induced periodic surface structures for femtosecond laser irradiation of silicon,” J. Appl. Phys. 108(3), 034903 (2010). [CrossRef]

5.

A. Vorobyev and C. Guo, “Colorizing metals with femtosecond laser pulses,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 92(4), 041914 (2008). [CrossRef]

6.

T. Hwang and C. Guo, “Angular effects of nanostructure-covered femtosecond laser induced periodic surface structures on metals,” J. Appl. Phys. 108(7), 073523 (2010). [CrossRef]

7.

J. Li, S. Ho, M. Haque, and P. Herman, “Nanogratingbragg responses of femtosecond laser written optical waveguides in fused silica glass,” Opt. Mater. Express 2(11), 1562–1570 (2012). [CrossRef]

8.

Y. Yuan, L. Jiang, X. Li, C. Wang, H. Xiao, Y. Lu, and H. Tsai, “Formation mechanisms of sub-wavelength ripples during fs laser pulse train processing of dielectrics,” J. Phys. D Appl. Phys. 45(17), 175301 (2012). [CrossRef]

9.

H. Yuan, V. Yost, M. Page, P. Stradins, D. Meier, and H. Branz, “Efficient black silicon solar cell with adensity-graded nanoporous surface: optical properties, performance limitations, and design rules,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 95(12), 123501 (2009). [CrossRef]

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F. Liang, R. Vallée, and L. Chin, “Pulse fluence dependent nanograting inscription on the surface of fused silica,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 100(25), 251105 (2012). [CrossRef]

11.

B. Dusser, Z. Sagan, H. Soder, N. Faure, J. P. Colombier, M. Jourlin, and E. Audouard, “Controlled nanostructrures formation by ultra fast laser pulses for color marking,” Opt. Express 18(3), 2913–2924 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

12.

J. T. Chen, W. C. Lai, Y. J. Kao, Y. Y. Yang, and J. K. Sheu, “Laser-induced periodic structures for light extraction efficiency enhancement of GaN-based light emitting diodes,” Opt. Express 20(5), 5689–5695 (2012). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

13.

L. Jiang, D. Ying, X. Li, and Y. Lu, “Two-step femtosecond laser pulse train fabrication of nanostructured substrates for highly surface-enhanced Raman scattering,” Opt. Lett. 37(17), 3648–3650 (2012). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

14.

V. Zorba, E. Stratakis, M. Barberoglou, E. Spanakis, P. Tzanetakis, S. Anastasiadis, and C. Fotakis, “Biomimetic artificial surfaces quantitatively reproduce the water repellency,” Adv. Mater. 20(21), 4049–4054 (2008). [CrossRef]

15.

I. Martín-Fabiani, E. Rebollar, S. Pérez, D. R. Rueda, M. C. García-Gutiérrez, A. Szymczyk, Z. Roslaniec, M. Castillejo, and T. A. Ezquerra, “Laser-induced periodic surface structures nanofabricated on poly(trimethylene terephthalate) spin-coated films,” Langmuir 28(20), 7938–7945 (2012). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

16.

K. Q. Peng, Z. P. Huang, and J. Zhu, “Fabrication of Large-Area Silicon Nanowire p–n Junction Diode Arrays,” Adv. Mater. 16(1), 73–76 (2004). [CrossRef]

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M. Huang, F. Zhao, Y. Cheng, N. Xu, and Z. Xu, “Large area uniform nanostructures fabricated by direct femtosecond laser ablation,” Opt. Express 16(23), 19354–19365 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

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H. W. Choi, D. F. Farson, J. Bovatsek, A. Arai, and D. Ashkenasi, “Direct-write patterning of indium-tin-oxide film by high pulse repetition frequency femtosecond laser ablation,” Appl. Opt. 46(23), 5792–5799 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

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G. Obara, N. Maeda, T. Miyanishi, M. Terakawa, N. N. Nedyalkov, and M. Obara, “Plasmonic and mie scattering control of far-field interference for regular ripple formation on various material substrates,” Opt. Express 19(20), 19093–19103 (2011). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

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32.

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OCIS Codes
(220.4000) Optical design and fabrication : Microstructure fabrication
(320.7130) Ultrafast optics : Ultrafast processes in condensed matter, including semiconductors

ToC Category:
Laser Microfabrication

History
Original Manuscript: March 14, 2013
Revised Manuscript: April 12, 2013
Manuscript Accepted: April 13, 2013
Published: June 21, 2013

Citation
Weina Han, Lan Jiang, Xiaowei Li, Pengjun Liu, Le Xu, and YongFeng Lu, "Continuous modulations of femtosecond laser-induced periodic surface structures and scanned line-widths on silicon by polarization changes," Opt. Express 21, 15505-15513 (2013)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-21-13-15505


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References

  1. S. Hong, J. Zhu, and C. A. Mirkin, “Multiple ink nanolithography: toward a multiple-pen nano-plotter,” Science286(5439), 523–525 (1999). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  2. U. Lüders, F. Sánchez, and J. Fontcuberta, “Self-organized structures in CoCr2O4 (001) thin films: tunable growth from pyramidal clusters to {111} fully faceted surface,” Phys. Rev. B70(4), 045403 (2004). [CrossRef]
  3. H. Yuan, V. Yost, M. Page, P. Stradins, D. Meier, and H. Branz, “Efficient black silicon solar cell with adensity-graded nanoporous surface: optical properties, performance limitations, and design rules,” Appl. Phys. Lett.95(12), 123501 (2009). [CrossRef]
  4. J. Bonse and J. Krüger, “Pulse number dependence of laser-induced periodic surface structures for femtosecond laser irradiation of silicon,” J. Appl. Phys.108(3), 034903 (2010). [CrossRef]
  5. A. Vorobyev and C. Guo, “Colorizing metals with femtosecond laser pulses,” Appl. Phys. Lett.92(4), 041914 (2008). [CrossRef]
  6. T. Hwang and C. Guo, “Angular effects of nanostructure-covered femtosecond laser induced periodic surface structures on metals,” J. Appl. Phys.108(7), 073523 (2010). [CrossRef]
  7. J. Li, S. Ho, M. Haque, and P. Herman, “Nanogratingbragg responses of femtosecond laser written optical waveguides in fused silica glass,” Opt. Mater. Express2(11), 1562–1570 (2012). [CrossRef]
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