Abstract

We present an optical arrangement for spatial homogenization of an UV beam carrying a short pulse (500 fs) to be used for material ablation. Conventional cylindrical fly’s eye lens homogenizers (CFELH’s) introduce unwanted interference effects into a beam caused by the high spatial coherence of short pulses. To prevent the disturbing effect of these intensity modulations, one can couple a low-loss distributed delay device to the CFELH. With the new design an intensity nonuniformity of <±5% rms can be obtained. High-resolution images of the beam profile show complete removal of the interference modulation. The pulse duration after homogenization is 12.5 ps. We performed preliminary ablation experiments in polyimide samples both by direct irradiation and by mask imaging. Uniformity and edge quality of the results are more than satisfactory, and the undesirable structure caused by interference is completely removed.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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