We report on three-dimensional (3D) optical memory recording and reading in glass by femtosecond pulses. Optically induced dielectric breakdown of glass is a mechanism of recording. The formulae of dielectric breakdown presented are applicable, in principle, for any crystalline or amorphous dielectric material. Scaling dependences of the probabilities of multi-photon and impact ionization are given. The measured threshold of an in-bulk dielectric breakdown of silica was reproduced numerically by implementing the ionization potential of Si (8.15 eV) for calculations. Exact measures of focal spot size and pulse duration at the focus allowed us to evaluate the intensity of a pulse during recording of 3D optical memory bits with high accuracy. The readout of the 3D optical memory was carried out by the white-light continuum generated from the previously damaged sites (recorded memory bits). The mechanism of the readout was a four-photon parametric interaction.
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