Dynamics of ultrashort pulsed laser radiation induced non-thermal ablation of graphite
We report on the dependence of a laser radiation induced ablation process of graphite on the applied pulse duration of ultrashort pulsed laser radiation smaller than 4 ps. The emerging so-called non-thermal ablation process of graphite has been confirmed to be capable to physically separate ultrathin graphitic layers from the surface of pristine graphite bulk crystal. This allows the deposition of ablated graphitic flakes on a substrate in the vicinity of the target. The observed ablation threshold determined at different pulse durations shows a modulation, which we ascribe to lattice motions along the c axis that are theoretically predicted to induce the non-thermal ablation process. In a simple approach, the ablation threshold can be described as a function of the energy penetration depth and the absorption of the applied ultrashort pulsed laser radiation. Based on the analysis of the pulse duration dependence of those two determining factors and the assumption of an invariant ablation process, we are able to reproduce the pulse duration dependence of the ablation threshold. Furthermore, the observed pulse duration dependences confirm the assumption of a fast material specific response of graphite target subsequent to optical excitation within the first 2 ps.
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