Far-ultraviolet photoetching of polymers is known to occur above a certain fluence threshold.1 However, the mechanism for the ablation process can be either photochemical bond breaking1 or thermal degradation2 or combinations of the two paths. The motivation for the present work was to study the photothermal heat exchange during the irradiation of polyimide (Kapton) with a 193-nm laser pulse (14 nsec) both below and above the ablation threshold.

© 1984 Optical Society of America

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