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By Sharon E. Black

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Cristoforetti and V. Palleschi ablation rate is larger by a factor 4 at 1 bar) but the enhancement vanishes at pressures lower than such a value. Wang et al. [39], operating on a steel target at quite different experimental conditions (laser energies in the order of the mJ, λ = 1047 nm, Δτ = 52 ns, τ = 21 ns), also investigated the effectiveness of drilling in SP and DP modes at different air pressures, finding that the SP ablation rate at the pressure of 8 mbar is close to that produced in DP configuration in the open air.

The plasma produced by the first pulse, thus, is just composed by species deriving from the ambient gas and only the second pulse removes mass from the target. In this way, the role of the first pulse is only that of preparing the environmental conditions in which the successive ablation is more effective, because of a stronger laser-target coupling. From a practical point of view, such configuration is probably less viable than the collinear one because of the higher complexity of the apparatus.

When all the available energy has been dissipated in the expansion and in the excitation/ionization processes, the pressure of the internal region equalizes with the external one and the shock wave becomes a sonic wave. At times larger than the laser pulse width, the situation can be well described by the point strong explosion theory, formulated by Sedov [81,82], which describes the effect of a large amount of energy delivered in a small volume of a homogeneous atmosphere during a short time interval.

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