A comparison of the characteristics of excimer and femtosecond laser ablation of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)

Tian Long See, Zhu Liu, Lin Li, Xiang Li Zhong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents an investigation on the ablation characteristics of excimer laser (λ = 248 nm, τ = 15 ns) and femtosecond laser (λ = 800 nm, τ = 100 fs) on ABS polymer sheets. The laser-material interaction parameters (ablation threshold, optical penetration depth and incubation factor) and the changes in material chemical properties were evaluated and compared between the two lasers. The work shows that the ablation threshold and effective optical penetration depth values are dependent on the wavelength of laser beam (photon energy) and the pulse width. The ablation threshold value is lower for the excimer laser ablation of ABS (Fth = 0.087 J/cm2) than that for the femtosecond laser ablation of ABS (Fth = 1.576 J/cm2), demonstrating a more dominating role of laser wavelength than the pulse width in influencing the ablation threshold. The ablation depth versus the logarithmic scale of laser fluence shows two linear regions for the fs laser ablation, not previously known for polymers. The effective optical penetration depth value is lower for excimer laser ablation (α-1 = 223 nm) than that for femtosecond laser ablation (α-1 = 2917 nm). The ablation threshold decreases with increasing number of pulses (NOP) due to the chain scission process that shortens the polymeric chains, resulting in a weaker polymeric configuration and the dependency is governed by the incubation factor. Excimer laser treatment of ABS eliminates the C=C bond completely through the chain scission process whereas C=C bond is partially eliminated through the femtosecond laser treatment due to the difference in photon energy of the two laser beams. A reduction in the C=C bond through the chain scission process creates free radical carbons which then form crosslinks with each other or react with oxygen, nitrogen and water in air producing oxygen-rich (C-O and C=O bond) and nitrogen-rich (C-N) functional groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-476
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Surface Science
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2016


  • Ablation
  • ABS
  • Excimer laser
  • Femtosecond laser
  • Polymer


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