Plasma Chemistry and Plasma Processing, Vol.40, No.5, 1241-1251, 2020
Residual Layer Removal of Technical Glass Resulting from Reactive Atmospheric Plasma Jet Etching by Pulsed Laser Irradiation
Ultrahigh-precision machining of glass is indispensable for optical component fabrication and therefore for applications. In this regard, plasma jet assisted chemical etching technologies enable new fabrication processes for enhanced optical functionalities due to their deterministic localized machining capabilities. This technique has been successfully applied to fused silica and silicon. However, applications require specific glass properties are related to complex material compositions of the glass. Hence, reactive plasma etching of these optical glasses is a challenging task. For instance, etching of metal oxide containing glass like N-BK7 by a fluorine-based reactive atmospheric plasma jet (RAPJ) exhibits currently limitations due to the formation of non-volatile reaction products that remain on the glass surface as a layer. Therefore, a procedure consisting of RAPJ etching and laser ablation is proposed for the machining of N-BK7. The capability of laser-based removal of residual layers is compared to water-based solving of the residual layer. After RAPJ etching of N-BK7 using a CF4-O(2)gas mixture with an average microwave power of 16 W, the samples are cleaned either by a water-based solvent or by the ablation with a nanosecond-pulsed ultraviolet laser. The laser irradiation with fluences of 2.8 J/cm(2)results in a localized removal of the residual layer. It is demonstrated that the roughness of the laser-cleaned N-BK7 surface is similarly low as solvent-based cleaned samples but the pulsed laser enhanced cleaning allows a dry processing at atmospheric pressure as well as a localized processing with a high lateral resolution.