An investigation of pulsed, laser drilling in a partially transparent medium was conducted. The study included both theoretical and experimental analyses. The theoretical analysis included development of a computer simulation to model the laser drilling process—a three-dimensional finite difference solution with temperature-dependent thermal properties, finite sample geometry, and experimentally determined laser beam characteristics. Both qualitative and quantitative correlation of the theoretical and experimental results was good with successful prediction of hole shapes and minimum error in the theoretically predicted cross-sectional areas of the laser-drilled holes ranging approximately ± three percent over the range of energies per laser pulse considered in this study. Results of calculations and experiments demonstrated the importance of the shape and irradiance distribution of the incident laser beam on the quality of laser-drilled holes in Al2O3 samples.

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