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Advances in ultrafast laser structuring of materials at the nanoscale

Abstract : Laser processing implies the generation of a material function defined by the shape and the size of the induced structures, being a collective effect of topography, morphology, and structural arrangement. A fundamental dimensional limit in laser processing is set by optical diffraction. Many material functions are yet defined at the micron scale, and laser microprocessing has become a mainstream development trend. Consequently, laser microscale applications have evolved significantly and developed into an industrial grade technology. New opportunities will nevertheless emerge from accessing the nanoscale. Advances in ultrafast laser processing technologies can enable unprecedented resolutions and processed feature sizes, with the prospect to bypass optical and thermal limits. We will review here the mechanisms of laser processing on extreme scales and the optical and material concepts allowing us to confine the energy beyond the optical limits. We will discuss direct focusing approaches, where the use of nonlinear and near-field effects has demonstrated strong capabilities for light confinement. We will argue that the control of material hydrodynamic response is the key to achieve ultimate resolution in laser processing. A specific structuring process couples both optical and material effects, the process of self-organization. We will discuss the newest results in surface and volume self-organization, indicating the dynamic interplay between light and matter evolution. Micron-sized and nanosized features can be combined into novel architectures and arrangements. We equally underline a new dimensional domain in processing accessible now using laser radiation, the sub-100-nm feature size. Potential application fields will be indicated as the struc-turing sizes approach the effective mean free path of transport phenomena.
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Contributor : Jean-Philippe Colombier <>
Submitted on : Monday, October 19, 2020 - 3:56:00 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 4, 2020 - 6:56:03 PM

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Razvan Stoian, Jean-Philippe Colombier. Advances in ultrafast laser structuring of materials at the nanoscale. Nanophotonics, Walter de Gruyter, 2020, ⟨10.1515/nanoph-2020-0310⟩. ⟨ujm-02971603⟩

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