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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 40, Iss. 18 — Jun. 20, 2001
  • pp: 3124–3131

Modeling optical breakdown in dielectrics during ultrafast laser processing

Ching-Hua Fan and Jon P. Longtin  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 40, Issue 18, pp. 3124-3131 (2001)

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Laser ablation is widely used in micromachining, manufacturing, thin-film formation, and bioengineering applications. During laser ablation the removal of material and quality of the features depend strongly on the optical breakdown region induced by the laser irradiance. The recent advent of amplified ultrafast lasers with pulse durations of less than 1 ps has generated considerable interest because of the ability of the lasers to process virtually all materials with high precision and minimal thermal damage. With ultrashort pulse widths, however, traditional breakdown models no longer accurately capture the laser–material interaction that leads to breakdown. A femtosecond breakdown model for dielectric solids and liquids is presented that characterizes the pulse behavior and predicts the time- and position-dependent breakdown region. The model includes the pulse propagation and small spatial extent of ultrashort laser pulses. Model results are presented and compared with classical breakdown models for 1-ns, 1-ps, and 150-fs pulses. The results show that the revised model is able to model breakdown accurately in the focal region for pulse durations of less than 10 ps. The model can also be of use in estimating the time- and position-resolved electron density in the interaction volume, the breakdown threshold of the material, shielding effects, and temperature distributions during ultrafast processing.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(140.3390) Lasers and laser optics : Laser materials processing
(140.3440) Lasers and laser optics : Laser-induced breakdown
(140.7090) Lasers and laser optics : Ultrafast lasers
(320.0320) Ultrafast optics : Ultrafast optics
(320.2250) Ultrafast optics : Femtosecond phenomena
(320.7120) Ultrafast optics : Ultrafast phenomena

Original Manuscript: August 7, 2000
Revised Manuscript: February 12, 2001
Published: June 20, 2001

Ching-Hua Fan and Jon P. Longtin, "Modeling optical breakdown in dielectrics during ultrafast laser processing," Appl. Opt. 40, 3124-3131 (2001)

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