For this paper, the physical mechanisms and ablation dynamics underlying the intra-film cleavage of SiOx thin films were investigated by laser pump-probe microscopy with high temporal dynamic range recorded in a wide time-frame between 100 fs and 10 μs. The long time scales revealed a new observation method as Newton's Rings (observed <~50 ns) gave way to holographic recording (>~50 ns) of the laser-ablated film fragments. For the first time to our knowledge, the holographic tracking reveals the clustering of large mechanically ejected nano-film planes into distinct speed groups according to the multiple of λ/2nfilm in the film. The observation verifies a new ‘quantized’ form of photo-mechanical laser “lift-off”.
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