Photonics Research, Volume. 10, Issue 6, 06001394(2022)

Multiphoton ionization of standard optical fibers

M. Ferraro1,2,†,*, F. Mangini1,3,†, Y. Sun1, M. Zitelli1, A. Niang1,3, M. C. Crocco2, V. Formoso2, R. G. Agostino2, R. Barberi2, A. De Luca2, A. Tonello4, V. Couderc4, S. A. Babin5,6, and S. Wabnitz1,6
Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Information Engineering, Electronics and Telecommunications, Sapienza University of Rome, 00184 Rome, Italy
  • 2Physics Department and STAR infrastructure, University of Calabria, I-87036 Arcavacata di Rende, CS, Italy
  • 3Department of Information Engineering, University of Brescia, 25123 Brescia, Italy
  • 4Université de Limoges, XLIM, UMR CNRS 7252, 87060 Limoges, France
  • 5Institute of Automation and Electrometry, SB RAS, Novosibirsk 630090, Russia
  • 6Novosibirsk State University, Novosibirsk 630090, Russia
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    Atoms ionization by the simultaneous absorption of multiple photons has found applications in fiber optics, where it leads to unique nonlinear phenomena. To date, studies of the ionization regime have been limited to gas-filled hollow-core fibers. Here, we investigate multiphoton ionization of standard optical fibers, where intense laser pulses ionize the atoms constituting the fiber structure itself, instead of that of the filling gas. We characterize material modifications produced by optical breakdown. Their formation affects laser beam dynamics over hours long temporal scales. The damage features are studied by means of optical microscopy and X-ray microtomography. In the framework of glass photonics, our results pave the way for a novel glass waveguide micromachining technique.


    The ionization of atoms has been studied for centuries, and it has been experimentally demonstrated in atomic gases. Analogously, ionization can be achieved in solids, and specifically dielectrics. The free electrons which result from ionization generate a plasma, whose ignition produces modifications of the material, i.e., structural damages [1]. Properly engineering these modifications allows for structuring glasses, giving rise to the field of micromachining [2]. Specifically, modifications made on the glass surface can result in the removal of the material, which is referred to as optical ablation [3,4].


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    M. Ferraro, F. Mangini, Y. Sun, M. Zitelli, A. Niang, M. C. Crocco, V. Formoso, R. G. Agostino, R. Barberi, A. De Luca, A. Tonello, V. Couderc, S. A. Babin, S. Wabnitz. Multiphoton ionization of standard optical fibers[J]. Photonics Research, 2022, 10(6): 06001394

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    Paper Information

    Category: Fiber Optics and Optical Communications

    Received: Dec. 30, 2021

    Accepted: Apr. 11, 2022

    Published Online: May. 12, 2022

    The Author Email: M. Ferraro (



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