Abstract

An interferometric analysis was performed to investigate the influence of argon (Ar) buffer gas on the characteristics of laser-induced aluminum (Al) plasma at atmospheric pressure. The plasma was produced by focusing a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser pulse (λ=1064nm, pulse duration 5ns, E=6.0mJ) onto an Al target. The interference patterns were constructed using a Nomarski interferometer incorporated with a frequency-doubled, Q-switched Nd:YAG laser (λ=532nm, pulse duration 10ns) that generates an interferometric probe beam. The interferometric measurements were carried out as a function of the elapsed time after the onset of breakdown under the conditions of open air and an Ar gas jet flow (5l/min). With the injection of an Ar buffer gas jet in the ablation process, an increase in electron density and a preferential axial plasma expansion of the plasma plume were observed during the early stages of plasma formation as a consequence of increased inverse-Bremsstrahlung (IB) absorption efficiency.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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