SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATION: Ultrafast laser inscription of mid-IR directional couplers for stellar interferometry

Ultrafast laser inscription of mid-IR directional couplers for stellar interferometry

A. Arriola, S. Mukherjee, D. Choudhury, L. Labadie, & R. R. Thomson

We report the ultrafast laser fabrication and mid-IR characterization (3.39 μm) of four-port evanescent field directional couplers. The couplers were fabricated in a commercial gallium lanthanum sulfide glass substrate using sub-picosecond laser pulses of 1030 nm light. Straight waveguides inscribed using optimal fabrication parameters were found to exhibit propagation losses of ∼0.8  dB·cm−1. A series of couplers were inscribed with different interaction lengths, and we demonstrate power-splitting ratios of between 8 % and 99 % for mid-IR light with a wavelength of 3.39 μm. These results clearly demonstrate that ultrafast laser inscription can be used to fabricate high-quality evanescent field couplers for future applications in astronomical interferometry.

Optics Letters Vol. 39, p. 4820 (2014)

doi: https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.39.004820