To observe excimer laser machining through thin liquid films and the effects thereof on debris control, equipment was designed to contain a small control volume that can be supplied with a laminar thin film of DI water to flow over the workpiece at various flow rates. Using the same equipment, comparison with non-liquid ablation was possible. Reliable calculations of the debris size and density with respect to the distance from the centre of the shot, as well as the identification of modal trends in the dispersion of the debris were obtained from analysis of microscope images with graphical analysis software. The results suggest that debris ejection direction is dependent upon the beam incident angle with the workpiece and that dispersion distance is related to particle size, beam intensity and the material being machined. The results support the suggestion that ablated material is both decelerated and retained more efficiently within a liquid than in a gas.

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