Surface charging under pulsed laser ablation of solids and its consequences: Studies with a continuum approach

N. M. Bulgakova, R. Stoian, A. Rosenfeld, I. V. Hertel, E. E.B. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Dynamics of electronic excitation, heating and charge-carrier transport in different materials (metals, semiconductors, and dielectrics) under femtosecond pulsed laser irradiation is studied based on a unified continuum model. A simplified drift-diffusion approach is used to model the energy flow into the sample in the first hundreds of femtoseconds of the interaction. The laser-induced charging of the targets is investigated at laser intensities slightly above the material removal threshold. It is demonstrated that, under near-infrared femtosecond irradiation regimes, charging of dielectric surfaces causes a sub-picosecond electrostatic rupture of the superficial layers, alternatively called Coulomb explosion (CE), while this effect is strongly inhibited for metals and semiconductors as a consequence of superior carrier transport properties. Various related aspects concerning the possibility of CE for different irradiation parameters (fluence, wavelength and pulse duration) as well as the limitations of the model are discussed. These include the temporal and spatial dynamics of charge-carrier generation in non-metallic targets and evolution of the optical (reflection and absorption) characteristics. A controversial topic concerning CE probability in laser irradiated semiconductor targets is also a subject of this work.

Original languageEnglish
Article number02
Pages (from-to)9-23
Number of pages15
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2005
EventCommercial and Biomedical Applications of Ultrafast Lasers V - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: 24 Jan 200527 Jan 2005


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