Understanding the formation of self-organized micro/nanostructures on metal surfaces from femtosecond laser ablation using stop-motion SEM imaging

Craig A. Zuhlke, Troy P. Anderson, Dennis R. Alexander

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

7 Scopus citations


There are a growing number of unique self-organized micro/nanostructures created using femtosecond laser surface processing that have been demonstrated. Although researchers have provided insight into the formation processes for distinctive morphologies on specific materials, there is a need for a broader understanding of the physics behind the formation of a wide range of morphologies and what parameters affect their formation. In this work, the formation processes for mound structures on 316 stainless steel (SS) with growth above the original sample surface are studied. The formation process for the structures on 316 SS is compared to similar structures formed on nickel using the same technique. The structures are formed using 800 nm, 50 fs laser pulses, and are self-organized, meaning the structure dimensions are much smaller than the spot size of the pulses used to create them. The formation dynamics were studied using a stop-motion scanning electron microscope (SEM) technique, where the same location of an irradiated sample was imaged in the SEM at various pulse counts. The result is a series of images showing the developmental progress with increasing pulse counts. The structures form through a combination of fluid flow of the surface melt that results after irradiation, preferential ablation of the center of the pits between structures, and material/nanoparticle redeposition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLaser-Based Micro- and Nanoprocessing VIII
ISBN (Print)9780819498816
StatePublished - 2014
EventLaser-Based Micro- and Nanoprocessing VIII - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Feb 4 2014Feb 6 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceLaser-Based Micro- and Nanoprocessing VIII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • Femtosecond laser
  • Laser microstructuring
  • Light-matter interactions
  • Ultrashort laser

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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