Micro/nanometric investigations of the effects of laser ablation in the generation of micro-tools from solid CVD diamond structures

P. W. Butler-Smith, D. A. Axinte, M. Pacella, M. W. Fay

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Using pulsed laser ablation, a novel method has been successfully developed for the generation of micro-features in diamond thus enabling the production of precision abrasive like micro-cutting elements into solid diamond micro-grinding tools. This paper examines the effects of the laser ablation on the generation of abrasive micro-features in diamond by using electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Site specific specimen preparation by a focus ion beam (FIB) material removal process has been made possible by the application of platinum and tungsten protective layers, providing the necessary specimen surface stability during the ion beam milling and lift-out operations. The prepared thin section orientated orthogonally to the cutting edge of a laser generated abrasive feature, has allowed the identification of the graphite and diamond allotropes across the ablated interface using EELS. A sequence of TEM images has revealed the extent of surface graphitisation and the high integrity of the diamond substructure. TEM examinations at nanometric resolutions have allowed the visualisation of the diamond and graphite allotropes at molecular level while depicting the abrupt graphite to diamond transition resulting in a highly defined boundary, thereby endorsing the capabilities of the laser ablation process to generate cutting edges with minimal structural damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-200
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Materials Processing Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Diamond
  • Diamond-graphite transformation
  • Electron energy loss spectroscopy
  • Focus ion beam
  • Laser ablation
  • Tool making
  • Transmission electron microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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