Ablation of polymers and biological tissue by ultraviolet lasers

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Science  31 Oct 1986:
Vol. 234, Issue 4776, pp. 559-565
DOI: 10.1126/science.3764428


When pulsed, ultraviolet laser radiation falls on the surface of an organic polymer or biological tissue, the material at the surface is spontaneously etched away to a depth of 0.1 to several micrometers. In the process, the depth of etching is controlled by the width of the pulse and the fluence of the laser, and there is no detectable thermal damage to the substrate. The material that is removed by etching consists of products ranging from atoms to small fragments of the polymer. They are ejected at supersonic velocities. This dry photoetching technique is useful in patterning polymer films. It is also under serious investigation in several areas in surgery.