Drilling rate of five metals with picosecond laser pulses at 355, 532, and 1064 nm
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Experimental results on picosecond laser processing of aluminum, nickel, stainless steel, molybdenum, and tungsten are described. Hole drilling is employed for comparative analysis of processing rates in an air environment. Drilling rates are measured over a wide range of laser fluences (0.05–20 J/cm2). Experiments with picosecond pulses at 355 nm are carried out for all five metals and in addition at 532 nm, and 1064 nm for nickel. A comparison of drilling rate with 6-ps and 6-ns pulses at 355 nm is performed. The dependence of drilling rate on laser fluence measured with picosecond pulses demonstrates two logarithmic regimes for all five metals. To determine the transition from one regime to another, a critical fluence is measured and correlated with the thermal properties of the metals. The logarithmic regime at high-fluence range with UV picosecond pulses is reported for the first time. The energy efficiency of material removal for the different regimes is evaluated. The results demonstrate that UV picosecond pulses can provide comparable quality and higher processing rate compared with literature data on ablation with near-IR femtosecond lasers. A significant contribution of two-photon absorption to the ablation process is suggested to explain high processing rate with powerful UV picosecond pulses.
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