Thermal effects on 3D crater shape during IR laser ablation of monocrystalline silicon: from femtoseconds to microseconds

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Analyzing the thermal effects (e.g., heat affected zone and debris analysis) on a laser-ablated crater using electron or atomic force microscopy is a time-consuming process while optical microscopy is limited to providing 2D information. The current work details an alternative method to identify and quantify the thermal effects based on an analysis of the 3D shape of craters. Starting from a thermal diffusion model, an iso-thermal function was developed and an iso-energetic function was defined based on the energy beam distribution. A systematic study of the 3D craters ablated on silicon was carried out at the four temporal regimes that are applicable in the industry: the femtosecond regime at 330 fs, the picosecond regime at 10 ps, the nanosecond regime in the range of 25–220 ns, and the microsecond regime in the range of 2–20 μs. It was shown that the defined Percentage Difference (PD) between the residual sum of squares (RSS) of the ellipsoid function and the RSS of the paraboloid function against the experimental crater, respectively, can be used to evaluate the presence of thermal effects. This corresponded with the results obtained using scanning electron microscope analysis. The analysis of the PD indicated how the crater shape was affected by the pulse duration while the non-thermal/thermal cutoff starting from the ps regime was studied. In addition, the crater shape was found to be affected by the laser beam fluence: for time regimes below the microsecond level, the thermal effects were seen to increase with higher laser beam fluence.


Original languageEnglish
Article number023105
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2017


  • Scanning electron microscope, Laser plasma interactions, Metalloids, Thermal effects, Thermal diffusion