Combined molecular dynamics-direct simulation Monte Carlo computational study of laser ablation plume evolution

Michael I. Zeifman, Barbara J. Garrison, Leonid V. Zhigilei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


A two-stage computational model of evolution of a plume generated by laser ablation of an organic solid is proposed and developed. The first stage of the laser ablation, which involves laser coupling to the target and ejection of molecules and clusters, is described by the molecular dynamics (MD) method. The second stage of a long-term expansion of the ejected plume is modeled by the direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) method. The presence of clusters, which comprise a major part of the overall plume at laser fluences above the ablation threshold, presents the main computational challenge in the development of the combined model. An extremely low proportion of large-sized clusters hinders both the statistical estimation of their characteristics from the results of the MD model and the following representation of each cluster size as a separate species, as required in the conventional DSMC. A number of analytical models are proposed and verified for the statistical distributions of translational and internal energies of monomers and clusters as well as for the distribution of the cluster sizes, required for the information transfer from the MD to the DSMC parts of the model. The developed model is applied to simulate the expansion of the ablation plume ejected in the stress-confinement irradiation regime. The presence of the directly ejected clusters drastically changes the evolution of the plume as compared to the desorption regime. A one-dimensional self-similar flow in the direction normal to the ablated surface is developed within the entire plume at the MD stage. A self-similar two-dimensional flow of monomers forms in the major part of the plume by about 40 ns, while its counterpart for large clusters forms much later, leading to the plume sharpening effect. The expansion of the entire plume becomes self-similar by about 500 ns, when interparticle interactions vanish. The velocity distribution of particles cannot be characterized by a single translational temperature; rather, it is characterized by a spatially and direction dependent statistical scatter about the flow velocity. The cluster size dependence of the internal temperature is mainly defined by the size dependence of the unimolecular dissociation energy of a cluster.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2181-2193
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 15 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Combined molecular dynamics-direct simulation Monte Carlo computational study of laser ablation plume evolution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this