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Particle Emission from Ultrafast Laser Ablated Materials: Plume Properties and Formation Dynamics

Particle Emission from Ultrafast Laser Ablated Materials: Plume Properties and Formation Dynamics

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An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Thomas Butler. Originally submitted for Applied Physics at Dublin City University, with lecturer Prof. John Costello in the category of Mathematical & Physical Sciences
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Thomas Butler. Originally submitted for Applied Physics at Dublin City University, with lecturer Prof. John Costello in the category of Mathematical & Physical Sciences

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 31, 2012
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02/27/2014

 
Final Year Project Report
Particle Emission from UltrafastLaser Ablated Materials: PlumeProperties and FormationDynamics
April 2012
 
Abstract
Laser produced plasmas are at the heart of many areas of physics andengineering, from materials processing and growth to research into the fun-damental behaviour of high density plasmas and laser-solid interactions.Sub picosecond laser pulses can be utilised in the process of ultrafast laserablation (ULA), and are currently being examined for use in a multitudeof areas, including biological sensing, materials processing and laser pro-duced plasmas for thin film coating and fabrication. The formation of alaser produced plasma (LPP) and its subsequent behaviour after irradia-tion of a solid target with a high intensity, ultra-short pulse, is still an areaof active research. The presented work concerns the building and design of an experimental apparatus to conduct research into the properties of thepositively charged particles emitted in the ablation process using a Faradaycup detector. The apparatus built includes a low pressure (
10
5
mbar)environment with the ability for studies of LPP’s of various materials withvarying laser parameters. Time-of-flight (TOF) distributions of the positiveions in a plasma plume were obtained using a 100 fs laser pulse for copper,aluminium and carbon targets. The ion energy is compared to nanosecondablation, and a double peak energy profile seen. A model is fit to this twopeak distribution, based on a thermally driven component combined with anonthermal fast ion plume portion. This model is consistent with previousstudies of longer pulse ULA (
>
100 fs). Plume parameters were extractedfrom these fits, and found to be in the range of 10km/s drift velocity and10-30 eV temperature. The kinetic energy peak of the fast ions was deter-mined to be a few hundred electron volts, while the kinetic energy of theslow peak was measured to be in the range of tens of eV. Relative yields of each component were calculated. Optical microscopy studies of the targetsurface, along with the measured yields, allow an insight into the thermaleffects in the target surface after pulsed laser ablation. A hypothesis is pre-sented concerning the possible material properties that will affect the plumecomposition, formation dynamics and thermal damage seen in the surface.Finally, the future of this research, including mass resolved and imagingstudies, is commented on.
1
 
List of Figures
2.1 Schematic representation of the laser plasma production processafter irradiation of a solid target by a nansecond laser pulse [23]. . . 112.2 Schematic representation of the Coulomb explosion process thatcreates a plume of fast ions very shortly after the laser pulse. . . . . 122.3 Graph showing the ablation rate of particles from a Ni surface afteran incident simulated 500fs laser pulse at time
t
= 0 [18]. . . . . . . 132.4 (a-f) x-ray absorption spectra at various locations of a plasma plumeafter a fixed 3ns delay from the laser pulse. The absorption linesshow the separation between the liquid droplets and clusters, andthe fast ions from Coulomb explosion [28]. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153.1 Q-switching action in a Nd:YAG laser. a) excitation flash lamptemporal profile b) Q-switch at time
t
0
c) increase in populationinversion above the normal threshold
n
t
d) output light pulse in-tensity. By delaying the Q-switch with respect to the build up inpopulation inversion (in reality the flash lamp emission), the inten-sity of the pulse can be changed [29]. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183.2 The relationship of the time and frequency domain of an ideal laserpulse will be given by a Fourier transform FT, and its inverse FT
1
[31]. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193.3 The system of Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA) used in femtosec-ond lasers [21]. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213.4 Flow diagram of the 4 major components of a laser produced plasma(LPP) experiment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223.5
a)
Schematic of the target chamber used to gather experimentalresults.
b)
Photograph of the target chamber, with the major com-ponents labelled. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243.6 The pipe above was added to allow correct airflow out of the BNCfeed through section. Before this the supports for the Faraday cupwere obstructing the system as it pumped down to low pressure. . . 253.7 Schematic of the Faraday cup, showing the detection cup regionand optimisations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263.8 Circuit diagram of the detector set-up to measure TOF ion spectra. 273.9 TOF spectra of the initial ns LPP experiment. Background pressure5
×
10
2
mbar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283.10 TOF spectra of a ns LPP after optimisation of the system. Back-ground pressure 10
5
mbar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293.11 Picture of the autocorrelator screen used to measure the pulsewidth. Note that the pulse width is half the value shown on screen. 303.12 Output pulse length as a function of input pulse length, for a fixedmaterial length of 9mm. The red dashed line highlights the mea-sured input pulse of 40fs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 313.13 Output pulse length as a function of material length, for a fixedinput pulse width of 40fs. The red dashed line highlights the mea-sured material length of 9mm. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 314.1 TOF spectra of a fs LPP from an 800nm, 40fs pulse incident onaluminium. Background pressure 3
×
10
5
mbar. . . . . . . . . . . . 332

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