Exploring the depth range for three-dimensional laser machining with aberration correction.
Salter PS., Baum M., Alexeev I., Schmidt M., Booth MJ.
The spherical aberration generated when focusing from air into another medium limits the depth at which ultrafast laser machining can be accurately maintained. We investigate how the depth range may be extended using aberration correction via a liquid crystal spatial light modulator (SLM), in both single point and parallel multi-point fabrication in fused silica. At a moderate numerical aperture (NA = 0.5), high fidelity fabrication with a significant level of parallelisation is demonstrated at the working distance of the objective lens, corresponding to a depth in the glass of 2.4 mm. With a higher numerical aperture (NA = 0.75) objective lens, single point fabrication is demonstrated to a depth of 1 mm utilising the full NA, and deeper with reduced NA, while maintaining high repeatability. We present a complementary theoretical model that enables prediction of the effectiveness of SLM based correction for different aberration magnitudes.