We apply well known nonlinear diffraction theory governing focusing of a powerful light beam of arbitrary shape in medium with Kerr nonlinearity to the analysis of femtosecond (fs) laser processing of dielectric in sub-critical (input power less than the critical power of self-focusing) regime. Simple analytical expressions are derived for the input beam power and spatial focusing parameter (numerical aperture) that are required for achieving an inscription threshold. Application of non-Gaussian laser beams for better controlled fs inscription at higher powers is also discussed.
© 2007 Optical Society of America
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