Atmospheric pressure plasma-assisted femtosecond laser engraving of aluminium
In this contribution, we report on the impact of direct dielectric barrier discharge argon plasma at atmospheric pressure on femtosecond laser engraving of aluminium. It is shown that the assisting plasma strongly affects the surface geometry and formation of spikes of both laser-engraved single lines and patterns of adjacent lines with an appropriate overlap. Further, it was observed that the overall ablation depth is significantly increased in case of large-scale patterning whereas no notable differences in ablation depth are found for single lines. Several possible mechanisms and underlying effects of this behaviour are suggested. The increase in ablation depth is supposed to be due to a plasma-induced removal of debris particles from the cutting point via charging and oxidation as supported by EDX analysis of the re-solidified debris. Furthermore, the impact of a higher degree of surface wrinkling as well as direct interactions of plasma species with the aluminium surface on the ablation process are discussed.