We develop an experiment of laser-matter interaction in air environment with ultrashort pulses of 12 fs in the context of micromachining. From post-mortem analysis of the sample, we determine the ablation thresholds of fused silica and sapphire exposed to single 12-fs laser pulse. We also analyze the evolution of macroscopic ablation quantities, taking into account the role of nonlinear propagation effects in air prior the target.
We present the development of a laser damage and ablation test-bench able to accommodate ultrashort pulses down to 10
fs pulse duration. The laser test-bench is operated in air and we demonstrate its capability to accurately measure the
damage and ablation characteristics of optical materials, like fused silica, irradiated by single ultrashort pulses of < 15 fs
pulse duration. The careful characterization of beam propagation allows us to ascertain the precise retrieval of laserinduced
damage and ablation threshold fluences as well as to identify the energetic regime yielding to beam