Ultra short laser pulses in the ps or fs regime are used, when high requirements concerning machining quality are
demanded. However, beside the quality also the process efficiency denotes a key factor for the successful transfer of this
technology into real industrial applications. Based on the ablation law, holding for ultra short pulses with moderate
fluences, it has been shown that the volume ablation rate can be maximized with an optimum setting of the laser
parameters. The value of this maximum depends on the threshold fluence and the energy penetration depth. Both
measures themselves depend on the pulse duration. For metals the dependence of the threshold fluence is well known, it
stays almost constant for pulse durations up to about 10 ps and begin then to slightly increase with the pulse duration.
The contrary behavior is observed for the energy penetration depth, it decreases over the whole range when the pulse
duration is raised from 500 fs to 50 ps. In this paper we will show that the maximum ablation rate can therefore be
increased by a factor of 1.5 to 2 when the pulse duration is reduced from 10 ps down to 500 fs.