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The removal of a layer of material via laser processing is ablation. CO2 laser wavelengths are absorbed more efficiently by certain materials, and used selectively to remove one material from the surface of another. Ablation includes removing plastic coatings, ink, paint, or thin films from other substrates. The advantage of laser ablation over other mechanical or chemical methods - lasers can target only the material to be removed, the material removed is vaporized leaving little waste material to clean up, and operating costs are significantly lower with no equipment to wear down or consumables to replace.


Many surface coatings are plastic, which absorbs CO2 laser wavelengths very well and is easily ablated from other materials. Wire stripping is a common ablation process, where the insulating plastic layer is ablated to expose the conductor wire with no residue remaining. Recommended lasers:

Ink & Paint

The laser ablation process removes ink and paint with little to no effect on the substrate surface. This process is especially useful when applying marks and/or codes to printed or painted surfaces. Ablation is an effective process for marking anodized or powder-coated metals such as aluminum, titanium, zinc and magnesium. Recommended lasers:

Thin Films & Coatings

The removal of thin films in precise patterns using a laser is another example of ablation. A standard process in the electronics industry includes removing thin protective electronic films and coatings from specific areas to enable connectivity or to enable component placement. Recommended lasers:

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