Photonics Dictionary

laser ablation

Laser ablation is a process that involves the removal or erosion of material from a target surface using laser energy. This technique is widely used in various scientific, industrial, and medical applications. The intense energy from the laser beam interacts with the material, causing it to undergo physical and chemical changes, ultimately leading to its removal.

Key features of laser ablation include:

Laser energy: A high-energy laser beam is directed onto the surface of a material. The choice of laser type (e.g., CO2, excimer, Nd:YAG) depends on the properties of the target material and the desired outcome.

Material interaction: The laser energy is absorbed by the material, leading to rapid heating and vaporization or melting of the target substance. This can result in the ejection of particles or the creation of a plasma plume.

Material removal: The material is removed from the surface either by physical ejection of particles (ablation) or by the creation of a plasma that expands and removes the material.

Precision: Laser ablation is known for its precision, allowing for the selective removal of material with minimal damage to the surrounding area. This makes it suitable for various applications requiring fine control, such as microfabrication or medical procedures.


Materials processing: Laser ablation is used for cutting, engraving, and shaping materials in manufacturing and microfabrication processes.

Scientific research: It is employed in analytical techniques such as laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) for elemental analysis.

Medical procedures: Laser ablation is used in various medical applications, including the removal of tumors or lesions, dental procedures, and eye surgeries.

Laser ablation in medicine: In medical contexts, laser ablation is often used for:

Dermatology: Treating skin conditions and cosmetic procedures.

Ophthalmology: Correcting vision problems and treating eye diseases.

Oncology: Removing tumors or cancerous tissues.

Laser ablation offers advantages such as precision, minimal thermal damage, and the ability to process a wide range of materials. The specific parameters and techniques used in laser ablation depend on the application and the characteristics of the target material.

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