We demonstrate that diode laser self-mixing interferometry can be exploited to instantaneously measure the ablation front displacement and the laser ablation rate during ultrafast microdrilling of metals. The proof of concept was obtained using a 50-μm-thick stainless steel plate as the target, a microchip fiber laser as the machining source, and an diode laser with an integrated photodiode as the probe. The time dependence of the hole penetration depth was measured with a resolution.
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