Waxes and thermopolymers are commonly used to mount optical and photonic materials prior to polishing and singularization. After demounting, residual wax/thermopolymer can adhere to the component surface, frequently in the form of particles. Dry, ultraviolet-pulsed laser cleaning has been demonstrated to effectively remove paraffin wax particles, prepared on a glass surface using a wax aerosol technique. This method produces dome-shaped particles. Experimental evidence suggests the dome-shaped particles are vaporized by the absorption of the energy from the laser pulse. A theoretical model based on vaporization has been developed and this leads to predictions of the critical fluence for single laser pulse removal of dome-shaped particles which is in good agreement with that experimentally measured (220 mJ/cm²). The model also gives insight into the geometries and relative thermal properties of the "particles" and surface, which are important in determining whether removal by vaporization is a viable process
Copyright 2002 American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in Journal of applied physics, Vol. 92, Issue 8, pp.4201-4208, and may be found at http://link.aip.org/link/?JAPIAU/92/4201/1.