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A nanosecond pulsed Nd-Yag laser, operating at an intensity of about 109 W/cm2, was employed to irradiate different metallic solid targets (Al, Cu, Ta, W, and Au) in vacuum. The measured ablation yield increases with the direct current (dc) electrical conductivity of the irradiated target. The produced plasma was characterized in terms of thermal and Coulomb interaction evaluating the ion temperature and the ion acceleration voltage developed in the non-equilibrium plasma core. The particles emission produced along the normal to the target surface was investigated measuring the neutral and the ion energy distributions and fitting the experimental data with the “Coulomb-Boltzmann-shifted” function. Results indicate that the mean energy of the distributions and the equivalent ion acceleration voltage of the non-equilibrium plasma increase with the free electron density of the irradiated element.
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