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The kHz femtosecond laser materials processing facility enables fundamental and applied research in a variety of different fields, including integrated optics, advanced materials science, photochemistry, life sciences, and manufacturing. The ultrafast transfer of energy from laser pulses to the material ensures higher spatial (sub-micrometer) and temporal (sub-picosecond) selectivity of the materials processing, as well as a significantly reduced heat input compared to longer laser pulses. The low repetition rate reduces cumulative heating between pulses, making this facility ideal for the research on heat-sensitive applications such as ablative processing and light-matter interaction with biological specimens. The high intensities that can be generated with femtosecond laser pulses enable the exploration of the non-linear absorption mechanisms utilized for the processing of dielectric materials. The ability to utilize single femtosecond pulses allows an implementation of pump-probe experiments for time-resolved studies of various laser-matter interaction phenomena.

In addition to the fundamental wavelength at 800 nm and its second harmonics at 400 nm, the facility is equipped with a femtosecond optical parametric amplifier (fs-OPA) that extends the output wavelength range into the near- and mid-IR. The ability to tune the frequency of the ultrafast laser light can be utilized for laser processing of wide band gap materials and spectroscopic studies.

The primary utilization of the facility within the Laser & Plasma Laboratory at the Townes Laser Institute covers the fabrication of 3D volumetric optical and microfluidic structures in transparent materials, high-precision machining of different classes of materials, and time-resolved studies of laser-matter interaction in different materials.

Facility Equipment

Femtosecond Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA) laser light source

Spectra Physics Spitfire

Femtosecond Optical Parametric Amplifier (fs-OPA)

Coherent OPerA

3D computer-controlled positioning system

Newport VP-25XA