Meso and micro scale machining is an important and emerging area of research. Various non-traditional and novel tools are being explored for meso and micro machining of non-silicon materials. In this paper, we report etching, micro machining and related phenomena of commercially available single and polycrystalline diamond using a femtosecond pulsed excimer laser (λ = 248 nm, tp ∼ 380 fs). Surface modifications due to single pulse and multiple pulse irradiation of diamond samples, at different energy densities, have been analyzed using Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Etching rate of single crystal type IIA diamond by femtosecond pulsed excimer laser is also studied. Raman spectroscopy study of the single shot irradiation of diamond with a femto second laser shows the formation of a non-diamond disordered (sp2 bonded) phase on the surface. However, subsequent micro machining of this non-diamond disordered surface, by delivering several shots from the femtosecond laser, results in the removal of the non-diamond disordered layer and the restoration of the diamond surface. It is experimentally shown that the periodicity of the 2-dimensional corrugations written on diamond surface is shorter than the laser wavelength used. 3-dimensional writing on diamond globules during laser etching is also discussed. Further, micro machining of diamond tips is shown to be precise, and without mechanical and chemical damages. Femto second laser is demonstrated as a next-generation tool for mechanical and chemical damage free precision micro machining of the hardest material, diamond.

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