Laser surface texturing refers to techniques for altering surface topography either by laser-induced material removal and/or displacement of material from the melt pool. A review of thermal transport issues involved in laser surface texturing is discussed, with an emphasis on texturing at low laser fluences. The paper will discuss new applications of laser surface texturing, particularly reduction of stiction in MEMS devices. Experiments with laser surface texturing of thin metal films and silicon wafers at low fluence are presented. The results show that texturing of a metal film is possible without opening a hole in the film. At higher laser fluences, a hole opens in the film and droplets are ejected from the molten pool. Texturing of silicon wafers also suffers from droplet ejection, with debris-free texturing possible at fluences only slightly above the melting threshold. Directions for future research are discussed, including understanding the effect of density variation during melting and solidification on the final surface topography.

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