Laser ablation in air was studied near the ablation threshold. Current pulses induced by the laser pulse in the target circuit as well as light pulses emitted from the near-target region were recorded as a function of laser fluence. The location of charge carriers responsible for the rise of current pulses was estimated. It was concluded that the plasma plume formed near the target is a source of radiation that ionizes air. The absorption coefficient of this photoionizing radiation was estimated.
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