To harness light-matter interactions at the nano-/micro-scale, better tools for control must be developed. Here, it is shown that by applying an external electric and/or magnetic field, ablation of Si and glass under ultra-short (sub-1 ps) laser pulse irradiation can be controlled via the Lorentz force
is velocity of charge e
is the applied electrical bias and
is the magnetic flux density. The external electric E-field was applied during laser ablation using suspended micro-electrodes above a glass substrate with an air gap for the incident laser beam. The counter-facing Al-electrodes on Si surface were used to study debris formation patterns on Si. Debris was deposited preferentially towards the negative electrode in the case of glass and Si ablation. Also, an external magnetic field was applied during laser ablation of Si in different geometries and is shown to affect ripple formation. Chemical analysis of ablated areas with and without a magnetic field showed strong chemical differences, revealed by synchrotron near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) measurements. Harnessing the vectorial nature of the Lorentz force widens application potential of surface modifications and debris formation in external E-/B-fields, with potential applications in mass and charge spectroscopes.
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