Applied Surface Science, Vol.255, No.24, 9729-9733, 2009
Dynamics of ablation plasma induced by a femtosecond laser pulse in electric fields
Direct observations of ablation plasma dynamics in electric field is presented. A time-resolved spatial profile of the ablation plasma induced by femtosecond laser ablation (fsLA) with high fluence is visualized using a planar-laser-induced fluorescence (P-LIF) method. The external electric field is produced by installing a mesh electrode at 6 mm from a Samarium solid target. The Sm ion plasma created by the fsLA showed collective motion regardless of the external electric field, until they reached close to the electrode. When the accelerating and decelerating field was applied, the ions almost disappeared behind the electrode from the field of view. The observations are understood utilizing a SIMION simulation with a conceivable potential gradient caused by Debye shield effect, which is that the ablation plasma keeps the same potential as the target voltage and follows electric potential gradient near the mesh electrode. It is also revealed that this effect degrades time-of-flight resolution at high fluence irradiation. This work gives a new direction for further developments of a fsLA time-of-flight spectrometer. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.