Measurement of Er:YAG laser ablation plume dynamics

J. T. Walsh*, T. F. Deutsch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The dynamics of tissue ablation using an Er:YAG laser were studied using flash photography and optical pump-probe techniques. Both normal-spiking-mode and Q-switched Er:YAG laser radiation were used to study the ablation of skin and bone. Time-resolved photographs of the ablation plume were obtained using a microscope-mounted camera together with pulsed illumination from an excimer-pumped dye laser. The velocity of the plume front, obtained from the photographs, was approximately 1400 m/s. The same velocity was also measured using an optical pump-probe technique. Both techniques indicate that material removal occurred after the end of the 90-ns-long Q-switched laser pulse and that each micropulse in the normal-spiking-mode pulse train was capable of ablating and rapidly ejecting tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-224
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Physics B Photophysics and Laser Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 1991


  • 87.60Gp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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