Sapphire (0 0 0 1) surface modifications induced by long-pulse 1054 nm laser irradiation

Sheng Nian Luo, Pedro Peralta, Chi Ma, Dennis L. Paisley, Scott R. Greenfield, Eric N. Loomis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


We have investigated modifications of sapphire (0 0 0 1) surface with and without coating, induced by a single laser pulse with a 1054 nm wavelength, 2.2μ s duration, 7.75 mm spot and energy of 20-110 J. A holographic optical element was used for smoothing the drive beam spatially, but it induced small hotspots which initiated damage on the uncoated and coated surfaces. The individual damage effects of hotspots became less pronounced at high fluences. Due to high temperature and elevated non-hydrostatic stresses upon laser irradiation, damage occurred as fracture, spallation, basal and rhombohedral twinning, melting, vitrification, the formation of nanocrystalline phases, and solid-solid phase transition. The extent of damage increased with laser fluences. The formation of regular linear patterns with three-fold symmetry (〈 1 1 over(2, ̄) 0 〉 directions) upon fracture was due to rhombohedral twinning. Nanocrystalline α-Al2O3 formed possibly from vapor deposition on the coated surface and manifested linear, triangular and spiral growth patterns. Glass and minor amounts of γ-Al2O3 also formed from rapid quenching of the melt on this side. The α- to γ-Al2O3 transition was observed on the uncoated surface in some partially spalled alumina, presumably caused by shearing. The nominal threshold for laser-induced damage is about 47 J cm-2 for these laser pulses, and it is about 94 J cm-2 at the hotspots.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9457-9466
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Surface Science
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Oct 15 2007
Externally publishedYes



  • Fracture
  • Laser irradiation
  • Nanocrystals
  • Sapphire
  • Spall
  • Twinning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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