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Development and study of femtosecond lasers

Alejandro A. Hnilo and Marcelo G. Kovalsky

Centro de Investigaciones en Láseres y Aplicaciones (CEILAP)
Instituto de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas de las Fuerzas Armadas (CITEFA)
Zufriategui 4380
1603 Villa Martelli, Buenos Aires

The use of ultrashort laser pulses have been shown to be an attractive option for the high quality micromachining of many materials and their
ability for minimal damage and precise processing has been thoroughly researched for many years.
The increasing worldwide interest in femtosecond laser micromachining and the potential new markets being investigated have prompted the
need to develop more powerful, simpler, rugged, and economic laser systems and this, in turn, has encouraged further work. The most efficient
way to obtain femtosecond pulses is via Kerr lens mode locking. However the nonlinear effects that cause the pulse formation are also
responsible for the instabilities always presents in this kind of lasers. In this work we describe the dynamics of the most widely used source of
femtosecond pulses, the Ti:Sapphire laser. We also present the results obtained with a femtosecond laser based on a diode pumped Nd:Glass

Laser micromachining - the direct etching of solids by pulsed laser radiation – relies on the process of ablation1 . Laser solid interactions during ablation are complex, and depend both on the material and
on the laser parameters (primarily the wavelength, pulse duration and intensity). Another factor of critical importance is the stability in the pulse train. Femtosecond lasers based on Kerr lens mode locking
can display pulse to pulse instabilities2.
A model based on iterative maps allows us to undestand3,4 and eventually control the chaotic behaviour .

Kerr effect
Iterative maps + ABCD matrix
n(I) = n + n2 I

Kerr lens mode locking Responsible for the instabilities shown in the pulse train

Lens Lens

Input beam
Output beam

low power high power

Self focusing

Self phase modulation

The observed modes of operation are naturally obtained from a description based on an iterative map of five pulse variables, beam size, curvature, pulse duration, chirp and energy. The stability regions for each mode are
obtained as well as its characteristic behaviors. On the other hand, the structurally stable properties of the system are experimentally found, observing a good agreement between the experiment and the model.
It is experimentally shown that pulse to pulse instabilities in the output of the laser are usual and they can affect some of the pulse variables and not others. A simple way to detect and eliminate the instabilities is described.
Experimental time series of the two pulsed model are obtained. From this series the chaotic low dimensional deterministic behavior is confirmed and the route to chaos in each case is established. The same attractors are
obtained from the simulated series.
As an application of the model, an algorithm of control of chaos that allows reach shorter pulse duration, close to 10 fs, is presented. control signal

Control signal ON


1.- N.H Rizvi,”Femtosecond laser

micromachining:current status and
applications”Riken Review N 50,
January 2003.
Other lasers developed in our lab 2.- M. G. Kovalsky, A. A. Hnilo, C.
González Inchauspe “Hidden
instabilities in the Ti:sapphire Kerr
lens mode-locked laser” Optics
Letters, 24, p.1638 , November 15,
3.- M.G. Kovalsky, A.A. Hnilo
“Stability and bifurcations in Kerr -
lens mode - locked Ti:Sapphire
lasers” Optics Communications,
186, p.155, December 1, 2000.

4.- M.G.Kovalsky, A.A. Hnilo, A.

Libertun, M. C. Marconi
“Bistability in Kerr lens mode - locked
• Nd:YVO4 active Q-switch and SHG Ti:Sapphire lasers”, Optics
• Nd:Glass active mode locking Communications, 192, p. 333, June, 1,
• Nd:YAG Kerr lens mode locked: 4 ps, 800 mW
250 mW @ 1064 nm cheap ps source @1064 nm 2001.

50 mW @ 532 nm (20 ns, 10 KHz). 50mW @ 100MHz pulse duration 1ps