Ultrashort Pulse Laser Interaction with Dielectrics and Polymers

  • Jörg KrügerEmail author
  • Wolfgang KautekEmail author
Part of the Advances in Polymer Science book series (POLYMER, volume 168)


Femtosecond laser micromachining has excited vivid attention in various industrial fields and in medicine owing to the advantages of ultrashort laser pulses compared to long-pulse treatment. These are mainly the reduction of the laser fluence needed to induce ablation and the improvement of the contour sharpness of the laser-generated structures. Recently, special attention was paid to femtosecond laser experiments on nonabsorbing inorganic dielectrics. This is due to the fact that optical damage in dielectric optical elements limits the performance of high-power laser systems. Despite the fact that a large variety of organic polymers can be machined with excimer lasers successfully, the involvement of thermal processes can lead to an unsatisfactory quality of the structures. Ultrashort, fs-laser pulses might be an alternative for the treatment of polymers. Therefore, femtosecond laser machining investigations of dielectrics and polymers are reviewed in this paper. Similarities and differences of the ablation behavior of both material classes are discussed. The influence of the bandgap on the ablation threshold in dependence on the pulse duration, the enhancement of the machining precision with a shortening of the pulse duration, incubation phenomena, and morphological features appearing on the surface after femtosecond laser treatment are mentioned. Possible applications, e.g., in medicine and biosensors, are described.


Ablation Dielectrics Femtosecond laser Micromachining Polymers 



Avalanche coefficient


Linear absorption coefficient


Effective absorption coefficient


Ablation depth per pulse (=ablation rate)


Diameter of ablated (modified) area


Thermal diffusivity


shot-to-shot deviation of d from its mean value (99 % confidence interval)


Maximum energy


Transmitted energy


Threshold energy


Focusing distance


Maximum fluence


Threshold fluence




Spatial position


Center wavelength


Ripple period


Density of electrons


Number of pulses per spot


Lateral extension parameter


Spatial coordinate




k-photon absorption cross section




Pulse duration (FWHM)


Angle of incidence


Gaussian beam radius


Spatial coordinate


Spatial coordinate


Incubation parameter


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Partial financial funding was provided by the German Ministry for Research and Technology (BMBF, Mikrosystemtechnik, # 16SV 515 and LASER 2000, # 13 N 7048/7) and the European Community (BRITE-EURAM III Project BRPR-CT96–0265). One of us (W.K.) wants to acknowledge support by the “Fonds der Chemischen Industrie im Verband der Chemischen Industrie e.V.”, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory for Thin Film TechnologyFederal Institute for Materials Research and Testing BerlinGermany

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