A new method for stripping the most challenging photoresists on deep sub-micron technology semiconductor wafers has been developed. The method uses a combination of UV excimer laser ablation and reactive chemistry to strip the photoresist in a single dry process, eliminating the wet acids or solvents often used following ashing of high dose implantation (HDI) and reactive ion etching (RIE). The stripping process combines new removal mechanisms: chemical assisted UV excimer laser ablation/etching, laser induced chemical etching of side walls and residues, and enhanced combustion. During the laser pulses photolysis of the process gas occurs, UV laser radiation breaks the photoresist polymer chain bonds, and the photoresist (including foreign materials imbedded in it) is ablated. The combustion is ignited by the ablative impact of laser radiation and enhanced by the radicals formed during photo-thermal decomposition of the process gases. Following this process, the volatilized products and gases are evacuated. The optimum laser stripping conditions were developed to provide a wide process window for the most challenging stripping conditions, such as after HDI and RIE (metal, polysilicon), without causing damage to the wafer devices. A photoresist stripping system based on the described technology was designed and built. The system has been designated as the L-StripperTM and provides stripping time of 0.15 s/(micrometer cm2).