Micro-laser assisted machining (μ-LAM) is a novel micro/nano machining technique developed for ductile mode machining of ceramics and semiconductors. Ductile mode material removal is possible in a nominally brittle material due to the high-pressure phase transformation (HPPT) phenomenon during the machining process. This study isolates the pressure and temperature effect in the μ-LAM process. The μ-LAM process is unique whereby the pressure and temperature effect occur concurrently leading to the material removal process. The effect of temperature and thermal softening is studied via indentation tests using a cutting tool. In the precisely controlled indentation tests, laser heating is applied at various stages to determine the phase (i.e. atmospheric Si-I phase or high pressure phases that benefits most from the thermal softening effect. The indentation depths are measured and compared for each condition to identify the enhanced ductility of the nominally brittle material caused by the laser irradiation.

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