Abstract

We report the results of an investigation into the formation mechanism of laser-induced ripple structures based on obtaining direct images of a surface while the transient heating induced by a KrF excimer laser is still present. These images reveal transient but well-defined periodic heating patterns which, if enough subsequent excimer pulses are incident on the surface, become permanently induced ripple structures. It is evident from these transient images that the surface heating is confined to the induced structures, thus strongly supporting the idea that at low fluences the ripples are formed by localizing surface melting.

© 1989 Optical Society of America

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