Date of Award

5-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering (Holcomb Dept. of)

Committee Member

Dr. Hai Xiao, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Lin Zhu

Committee Member

Dr. Pingshan Wang

Committee Member

Dr. Fei Peng

Abstract

Ultrafast lasers, also referred to as ultrashort pulse lasers, have played an important role in the development of next generation manufacturing technologies in recent years. Their broad range of applications has been investigated in the field of microstructure processing for the biomedical, optical, and many other laboratory and industrial fields. Ultrafast laser machining has numerous unique advantages, including high precision, a small heat affected area, high peak intensity, 3D direct-writing, and other flexible capabilities When integrated with optical delivery, motion devices and control systems, one-step fabrication of assemble-free micro-devices can be realized. In particular, ultrafast lasers enable the creation of various three-dimensional, laser-induced modifications using an extremely high peak intensity over a short time frame, producing precise ablation of material and a small heat affected area in transparent materials. In contrast, lasers with longer pulse durations are based on a thermal effect, which results in significant melting in the heat affected area. In general, ultrafast laser micromachining can be used either to subtract material from or to change the material properties of both absorptive and transparent substances. Recently, integrated micro-devices including optical fiber sensors, microfluidic devices, and lab-on-chips (LOC) have gained worldwide recognition because of their unique characteristics. These micro-devices have been widely used for a broad range of applications, from fundamental research to industry. The development of integrated glass micro-devices introduced new possibilities for biomedical, environmental, civil and other industries and research areas. Of these devices, optical fiber sensors are recognized for their small size, accuracy, resistance to corrosion, fast response and high integration. They have demonstrated their excellent performance in sensing temperature, strain, refractive index and many other physical quantities. In addition to the all-in-fiber device, the LOC is another attractive candidate for use in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) because it includes several laboratory functions on a single integrated circuit. LOCs provide such advantages as low fluid volume consumption, improved analysis and response times due to short diffusion distances, and better process control, all of which are specific to their application. Combining ultrafast laser micromachining techniques with integrated micro-devices has resulted in research on a variety of fabrication methods targeted for particular purposes. In this dissertation, the direct creation of three-dimensional (3D) structures using an ultra-fast laser was investigated for use in optical devices. This research was motivated by the desire to understand more fully the relationship among laser parameters, material properties and 3D optical structures. Various all-in-fiber sensors in conjunction with femtosecond laser ablation and irradiation were investigated based on magnetic field, temperature and strain application. An incoherent optical carrier based microwave interferometry technique was used for in-situ weak reflector fabrication and a picosecond laser micromachining technique was introduced for developing LOCs with unlimited utilization potential.

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