Abstract

We fabricate microchannels in fused silica by femtosecond laser irradiation followed by etching in diluted hydrofluoric acid. We show a dramatic dependence of the etch rate on the laser polarization, spanning 2 orders of magnitude. We establish the existence of an energy-per-pulse threshold at which etching of the laser-modified zones becomes highly polarization selective. The enhanced selective etching is due to long-range, periodic, polarization-dependent nanostructures formed in the laser-modified material.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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