N.G. Semaltianos W. Perrie J. Cheng P. French M. Sharp G. Dearden K.G.Watkins
Picosecond laser (10.4 ps, 1064 nm) ablation of the nickel-based superalloy C263 is investigated at different pulse repetition rates (5, 10, 20, and 50 kHz). The two ablation regimes corresponding to ablation dominated by the optical penetration depth at low fluences and of the electron thermal diffusion length at high fluences are clearly identified from the change of the surface morphology of single pulse ablated craters (dimples) with fluence. The two corresponding thresholds were measured as F1 th(D1) = 0.68 ± 0.02 J/cm2 and F1 th(D2) = 2.64 ± 0.27 J/cm2 from data of the crater diameters D1,2 versus peak fluence. The surface morphology of macroscopic areas processed with a scanning laser beam at different fluences is characterised by ripples at low fluences. As the fluence increases, randomly distributed areas among the ripples are formed which appear featureless due to melting and joining of the ripples while at high fluences the whole irradiated surface becomes grainy due to melting, splashing of the melt and subsequent resolidification. The throughput of ablation becomes maximal when machining at high pulse repetition rates and with a relatively low fluence, while at the same time the surface roughness is kept low.