We fabricate microchannels in fused silica by femtosecond laser irradiation followed by etching in diluted hydrofluoric acid. We show a dramatic dependence of the etch rate on the laser polarization, spanning 2 orders of magnitude. We establish the existence of an energy-per-pulse threshold at which etching of the laser-modified zones becomes highly polarization selective. The enhanced selective etching is due to long-range, periodic, polarization-dependent nanostructures formed in the laser-modified material.
© 2005 Optical Society of America
C. Hnatovsky, R. S. Taylor, E. Simova, V. R. Bhardwaj, D. M. Rayner, and P. B. Corkum, "Polarization-selective etching in femtosecond laser-assisted microfluidic channel fabrication in fused silica," Opt. Lett. 30, 1867-1869 (2005)