During the last decade, microfabrication of photonic devices by means of intense femtosecond (fs) laser pulses has emerged as a novel technology. A common requirement for the production of these devices is that the refractive index modification pitch size should be smaller than the inscribing wavelength. This can be achieved by making use of the nonlinear propagation of intense fs laser pulses. Nonlinear propagation of intense fs laser pulses is an extremely complicated phenomenon featuring complex multiscale spatiotemporal dynamics of the laser pulses. We have utilized a principal approach based on finite difference time domain (FDTD) modeling of the full set of Maxwell’s equations coupled to the conventional Drude model for generated plasma. Nonlinear effects are included, such as self-phase modulation and multiphoton absorption. Such an approach resolves most problems related to the inscription of subwavelength structures, when the paraxial approximation is not applicable to correctly describe the creation of and scattering on the structures. In a representative simulation of the inscription process, the signature of degenerate four wave mixing has been found.
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