Interband Electronic Excitation-Assisted Atomic-Scale Restructuring of Metal Surfaces by Nanosecond Pulsed Laser Light

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Science  30 Jan 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5351, pp. 679-681
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5351.679

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Interaction of high-power laser light with materials often causes irreversible damage of the near-surface region. It is shown that copper single-crystal surfaces can be patterned by laser light. Irradiation with green light produced adatoms and vacancies, which self-organized into nanoscale pyramids. This restructuring can be removed by annealing. In contrast to green light, infrared laser irradiation at equivalent absorbed energy density did not produce any structural change. This, for metallic systems, unforeseen spectral difference in laser light action points to a concerted process as the source for structural modification, which involves long-lived primary excitation of localized d-electrons through interband transition together with phonon excitation.

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