Three-dimensional femtosecond laser nanolithography of crystals

Airan Rodenas*, Min Gu, Giacomo Corrielli, Petra Paiè, Sajeev John, Ajoy Kumar Kar, Roberto Osellame

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Citations (Scopus)
99 Downloads (Pure)


So far, nanostructuring of hard optical crystals has been exclusively limited to their surface, as stress-induced crack formation and propagation render high-precision volume processes ineffective1,2. Here, we show that the rate of nanopore chemical etching in the popular laser crystals yttrium aluminium garnet and sapphire can be enhanced by more than five orders of magnitude (from <0.6 nm h−1 to ~100 µm h−1) by the use of direct laser writing, before etching. The process makes it possible to produce arbitrary three-dimensional nanostructures with 100 nm feature sizes inside centimetre-scale laser crystals without brittle fracture. To showcase the potential of the technique we fabricate subwavelength diffraction gratings and nanostructured optical waveguides in yttrium aluminium garnet and millimetre-long nanopores in sapphire. The approach offers a pathway for transferring concepts from nanophotonics to the fields of solid-state lasers and crystal optics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105–109
Number of pages5
JournalNature Photonics
Early online date31 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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