We investigated the pulsed laser ablation of metallic (Al), semiconductor (Si), and wide bandgap dielectric (LiNbO3) targets in air at normal atmospheric conditions by using 4.5 ns pulses at 532 nm wavelength. We determined the dependence of the ablation rate on the pulse number and laser fluence. The number of consecutive laser pulses hitting the target on the same area was between 5 and 40, and the laser fluence was varied in the range of 10–250 J/cm2 by changing the irradiated area at the target surface. We find that the ablation rate of the three targets is
approximately constant when the pulse number is smaller than 15. Further increase of the pulse number leads to a decrease of the ablation rate, the fastest decrease of the ablation rate with pulse number being observed for the dielectric target. The dependence of the ablation rate on the laser fluence indicates two different regimes. In the first regime, which is for values of the fluence smaller than the threshold value (~70 J/cm2 for Al, ~90 J/cm2 for Si, and ~180 J/cm2 for LiNbO3), the ablation rate increases approximately logarithmically with
the fluence. In the second regime, characterized by values of the fluence greater than the threshold value, there is a steep increase of the ablation rate. This sudden jump of the ablation rate at the threshold fluence is due to the transition from normal vaporisation to phase explosion, and to the
changes in the dimensionality of the plasma-plume hydrodynamics from one-dimensional to three-dimensional.