Plasma dynamics and structural modifications induced by femtosecond laser pulses in quartz

Autores UPV


We have investigated plasma formation and relaxation dynamics induced by single femtosecond laser pulses at the surface of crystalline SiO 2 (quartz) along with the corresponding topography modifications. The use of fs-resolved pump-probe microscopy allows combining spatial and temporal resolution and simultaneous access to phenomena occurring in adjacent regions excited with different local fluences. The results show the formation of a transient free-electron plasma ring surrounding the location of the inner ablation crater. Optical microscopy measurements reveal a 30% reflectivity decrease in this region, consistent with local amorphization. The accompanying weak depression of ¿15 nm in this region is explained by gentle material removal via Coulomb explosion. Finally, we discuss the timescales of the plasma dynamics and its role in the modifications produced, by comparing the results with previous studies obtained in amorphous SiO 2 (fused silica). For this purpose, we have conceived a new representation concept of time-resolved microscopy image stacks in a single graph, which allows visualizing quickly suble differences of the overall similar dynamic response of both materials. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.