In the last few years, the combination of laser irradiation with atmospheric pressure plasmas, also referred to as laser–plasma hybrid technology, turned out to be a powerful technique for different materials processing tasks. This chapter gives an overview on this novel approach. Two methods, simultaneous and sequential laser-plasma processing, are covered. In the first case, both the plasma and the laser irradiation are applied to the substrate at the same time. Depending on the process gas and the discharge type, the plasma provides a number of species that can contribute to the laser process plasma-physically or plasma-chemically. Sequential plasma-enhanced laser processing is based on a plasma-induced modification of essential material properties, thus improving the coupling of laser energy into the material during subsequent laser ablation. Simultaneous plasma-assisted laser processing allows increasing the efficiency of a number of different laser applications such as cleaning, microstructuring, or annealing processes. Sequential plasma-assisted laser processing is a powerful method for the processing of transparent media due to a reduction in the laser ablation threshold and an increase in the ablation rate at the same time. In this chapter, the possibilities, underlying mechanisms, performance, and limits of the introduced approaches are presented in detail.
Part of the book: Plasma Science and Technology