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Title: Absorption of a single 500 fs laser pulse at the surface of fused silica: Energy balance and ablation efficiency

Ablation of fused silica by a single femtosecond laser pulse of 500 fs pulse duration is investigated from the perspective of efficiency of incident photons to remove matter. We measure the reflected and transmitted fractions of the incident pulse energy as a function of fluence, allowing us to recover the evolution of absorption at the material surface. At the ablation threshold fluence, 25% of incident energy is absorbed. At high fluences, this ratio saturates around 70% due to the appearance of a self-triggered plasma mirror (or shielding) effect. By using the energy balance retrieved experimentally and measurements of the ablated volume, we show that the amount of absorbed energy is far above the bonding energy of fused silica at rest and also above the energy barrier to ablate the material under non-equilibrium thermodynamic conditions. Our results emphasize the crucial role of transient plasma properties during the laser pulse and suggest that the major part of the absorbed energy has been used to heat the plasma formed at the surface of the material. A fluence range yielding an efficient and high quality ablation is also defined, which makes the results relevant for femtosecond micromachining processes.
Authors:
; ; ; ;  [1]
  1. Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, LP3 UMR 7341, 13288 Marseille (France)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22217856
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Applied Physics; Journal Volume: 114; Journal Issue: 17; Other Information: (c) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; ABLATION; ABSORPTION; ACCIDENTS; EFFICIENCY; ENERGY BALANCE; LASERS; PHOTONS; PLASMA; PLASMA HEATING; PULSES; SILICA; SURFACES