Abstract

The processes, induced by local action of the IR femtosecond laser pulse (λ=1.2μm, τ=250fs) in the bulk of silicon monocrystal, are studied. Infrared femtosecond interferometry was for the first time applied for visualization of beam propagation inside opaque materials. Dependences of laser-induced variation of material polarizability on pulse energy were obtained and essential wave-packet spreading in space was revealed. This leads to huge delocalization of light—scattering outside the beam caustic exceeds 99% of pulse energy. This effect results in extremely high optical damage threshold of crystalline silicon bulk—irreversible changes in material structure and optical properties were not observed for pulse energy up to 90 μJ. The role of beam Kerr self-focusing and defocusing by an electron-hole plasma inside c:Si is discussed.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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