This thesis contributes to the understanding of the ultrafast melting and ab-lation of solids irradiated at large laser intensities. Fundamental aspects of theultrafast laser ablation of pure metals (Au, Al, Cu, Fe, W), such as laser-matterinteraction, plasma formation, evaporation and melt dynamics have been matter of research. Melting and welding of technical borosilicate glass by high-repetition rateultrafast laser radiation have been studied as well.Novel experimental techniques and tools have been developed and applied in or-der to enable investigations of laser induced transient phenomena on diﬀerent timescales. Pump-probe imaging technique has been adopted featuring an extendedtemporal detection limit of approx. 2 microseconds and preserving a temporal res-olution in the sub-picosecond range. A novel quantitative optical phase microscopytechnique (TQPm) has been developed for time-resolved investigations of transientrefractive index and morphology changes.For laser ablation of metals at large irradiation intensities, the temporal andspatial proﬁles of the adopted laser radiation have been examined. The heatingeﬀect of the radiation pedestals caused by ampliﬁed spontaneous emission has beenestimated numerically resulting in a temperature increase by several hundreds of Kelvin, depending on material properties.Time-resolved shadowgraphy and quantitative measurements of the ablated vol-ume in metals have been performed in diﬀerent ambient conditions. In the adopteddelay range, the observed ablation phenomena can be classiﬁed by at least fourcharacteristic time regions, featuring the ejection of plasma and highly pressurizedvapor, material vapor due to nucleation eﬀects, liquid melt jets, and resolidiﬁcation,respectively. Based on the experimental results of this work, a qualitative descrip-tion for ablation of metals at large intensities is given, and important diﬀerencesto the ablation at near-threshold intensities are speciﬁed. Particularly, phenomenaconcerned with overheating of material, e.g. phase explosion and “boiling crisis”,are assumed as the prevailing mechanisms of ablation.Melting of technical borosilicate glass by high-repetition rate ultrafast laser ra-diation has been studied dynamically by means of TQPm. The obtained resultsexhibit transient modiﬁcations of the refractive index which reﬂects either the ion-ization process or the material densiﬁcation. An important application is establishedin terms of micro-welding of thin glass substrates with glass or silicon. By produc-ing melt tracks in the interface between two substrates, reliable weld seams aregenerated in the micrometer regime.
laser ablation, femtosecond, pump-probe, phase contrast