Laser Ablation and the Production of Polymer Films

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Science  29 Oct 1993:
Vol. 262, Issue 5134, pp. 719-721
DOI: 10.1126/science.262.5134.719


The formation of high-quality thin films of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is important in many applications ranging from material reinforcement to molecular electronics. Laser ablation, a technique widely used to deposit a variety of inorganic materials, can also be used as a simple and highly versatile method for forming thin polymer films. The data presented show that PTFE films can be produced on various supports by the evaporation of a solid PTFE target with a pulsed ultraviolet laser. The composition of the ablation plume suggests that PTFE ablation and subsequent film formation occur by way of a laser-induced pyrolitic decomposition with subsequent repolymerization. The polymer films produced by this method are composed of amorphous and highly crystalline regions, the latter being predominantly in a chain-folded configuration with the molecular axis aligned parallel to the substrate surface.