Spherical domes are created on the surface of polycarbonate samples, and microvoids are formed within the bulk using only a femtosecond oscillator with pulse energy of just 0.47 nJ. Size of spherical domes and shape of microvoids are controlled by changing the laser focus inside the material. Their formation is explained by a combination of heat accumulation and dome formation dynamics, where the dome acts as a microlens shifting the laser focus within the sample. The technique described here provides a simple avenue for fabricating smooth microlens arrays of various sizes and opens the possibility for direct fabrication of complex three-dimensional microfluidic channels in transparent materials.
© 2012 Optical Society of America
Lasers and Laser Optics
Original Manuscript: March 21, 2012
Manuscript Accepted: June 13, 2012
Published: July 25, 2012
Trevor Meunier, Ana B. Villafranca, Ravi Bhardwaj, and Arnaud Weck, "Mechanism for spherical dome and microvoid formation in polycarbonate using nanojoule femtosecond laser pulses," Opt. Lett. 37, 3168-3170 (2012)