Optics manufactured by mechanical grinding and polishing inevitably will bring surface/subsurface damages and defects during the machining process. Laser polishing has been demonstrated as a technique capable of achieving ultra-smooth surface with no damage and low-defects, but by far optics polished by this technology are only sufficient for illumination applications. To achieve high quality optics, high precision laser ablation has been proved to be a promising technology for shape correction. With pulsed CO<sub>2</sub> laser, high precision laser ablation can be performed by direct evaporation of unwanted surface asperities. To acquire nanometer scale high precision ablation, an accurate control and meticulous adjustment of temperature should be needed. Herein, a mathematical model has been established to assist the understanding of the thermal mechanism of CO<sub>2</sub> laser ablation and subsequently a series of simulations have been extended to investigate the phase change of evaporation. The temperature of fused silica irradiated by CO<sub>2</sub> laser can be controlled via laser power and pulse duration. To achieve nanometer ablation depth, a gentle evaporation regime at low laser intensity is necessary. The results indicated that the ablation depth linearly depend on laser fluence and depth control levels of nanometer are obtainable with the control of laser fluence.