A novel method is presented for determining the volume of molten material ejected from a substrate as a result of visible pulsed-laser ablation. A 100-μm-wide pulsed-laser light sheet (τ ~ 5 ns, λ = 532 nm) was used in conjunction with a CCD camera to provide high-speed cross-sectional images of single-pulse ablation of aluminum with a visible nanosecond laser source. Computational analysis of the two-dimensional gray-scale images was used to determine the total volume of material ejected from the substrate in the form of molten droplets. Ablation with dual-wavelength (511- and 578-nm) pulses of 30-ns duration was characterized under various fluence conditions (0–25 J cm⁻²), allowing a quantitative threshold for explosive melt ejection in aluminum to be established at ~10 J cm⁻². The temporal evolution of the ejected material showed that, for an incident fluence of ~40 J cm⁻², molten-droplet ejection commenced at ~400 ns and ceased after ~2 μs.
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