Abstract

We report an experimental analysis addressing striking effects of residual air ambient pressure, from atmospheric conditions (103mbar) to high vacuum (104mbar), on the surface structures induced on a silicon target by direct femtosecond laser irradiation. We observe an interesting direct impact of the ambient pressure on the period and depth of the generated ripples as well as on the formation of microgrooves. Moreover, a significant correlation is observed between the ripples’ period and depth. The change of pressure is accompanied by a variation of the degree of nanoparticle coverage, which is eventually recognized as an important factor for the development of the final surface structures. These results shed light on the intriguing mechanisms underlying the formation of the various surface textures, also evidencing that the ambient pressure can act as an effective parameter to tailor some characteristic features of the processed surface.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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