Laser ablation is the removal of material from a solid surface by exposing it to a laser beam. A laser beam heats the surface of the material and evaporates or sublimates the top layer that disappears in this way.
This technique can be used to clean surfaces or to remove paint and coatings. Especially on metal, the laser energy can be selectively absorbed by coatings. The pulsed laser beams can then be used to prepare a surface to be painted or welded without damaging the surface.