The backscattered light originated when machining with femtosecond laser pulses can be used to accurately measure the processed surface position through an interferometer, as recently demonstrated by our group, in a setup that uses the same laser beam for ablation and inspection. The present work explores the characteristics of the laser light reflected by the target and its interaction with the resulting plasma to better understand its propagation physics and to improve the dynamic focusing system. The origin of this returning radiation was studied and has been traced, mainly, from the peripheral area of the focal spot (doughnut-like). By means of a Mach-Zehnder setup, the interferometric pattern was measured and analyzed aiming to access the influences of the plasma on the laser beam properties, and therefore on the retrieved information. Finally, the wavefront of the laser that creates and propagates through the plasma was characterized using a Shack-Hartmann sensor.
Marcus Paulo Raele, Ricardo Elgul Samad, Anderson Zanardi Freitas, Lucas De Pretto, Marcello Magri Amaral, Nilson Dias Vieira, and Niklaus U. Wetter, "Backscattered light properties during femtosecond laser ablation and development of a dynamic interferometric focusing system," Proc. SPIE 10525, High-Power Laser Materials Processing: Applications, Diagnostics, and Systems VII, 105250H (Presented at SPIE LASE: February 01, 2018; Published: 15 February 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2285899.
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