P. Vlugter, E. Block, and Y. Bellouard, "Local tuning of fused silica thermal expansion coefficient using femtosecond laser," Physical Review Materials 3, (2019).
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Femtosecond laser exposure of fused silica in the non ablative regime can lead to various localized bulk modifications of the material structure. In this paper, we show that these laser-induced modifications can be used to tune silica thermal expansion properties permanently. In particular, we demonstrate that a given exposed regime leads to lower thermal expansion than the bulk, while other exposure conditions yield the opposite results. This remarkable property enables the possibility to engineer a given thermal expansion behavior by selectively exposing a material volume to a femtosecond laser beam. This finding opens up opportunities for a variety of integrated precision instruments and optical devices for which inertness to thermal fluctuations is essential. (Download / PDF)