Localized microstructure and elemental redistribution were induced in bismuth germanate glasses by irradiation with high repetition rate 800 nm femtosecond laser pulses. The confocal Raman spectra were examined to study the redistribution of elements and residual thermal stress. The microscopic Raman spectra indicated that the residual thermal stress increases from the unmodified region to the center of the laser modified region, while Bi is enriched at the boundary area of the inner structure of the laser modified region relative to Ge. Electron microprobe analysis further confirmed the elemental redistribution of Bi and Ge, which agrees well with the Raman spectral analysis. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.