Laser-induced periodic surface structures (LIPSSs) consist of regular wavy surface structures with amplitudes the (sub)micrometer range and periodicities in the (sub)wavelength range. It is thought that periodically modulated absorbed laser energy is initiating the growth of LIPSSs. The "Sipe theory" (or "Efficacy factor theory") provides an analytical model of the interaction of laser radiation with a rough surface of the material, predicting modulated absorption just below the surface of the material. To address some limitations of this model, the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method was employed to numerically solve the two coupled Maxwell's curl equations, for linear, isotropic, dispersive materials with no magnetic losses. It was found that the numerical model predicts the periodicity and orientation of various types of LIPSSs which might occur on the surface of the material sample. However, it should be noted that the numerical FDTD model predicts the signature or "fingerprints" of several types of LIPSSs, at different depths, based on the inhomogeneously absorbed laser energy at those depths. Whether these types of (combinations of) LIPSSs will actually form on a material will also depend on other physical phenomena, such as the excitation of the material, as well as thermal-mechanical phenomena, such as the state and transport of the material.
Römer, G. R. B. E., Skolski, J. Z. P., Oboňa, J. V., & Huis In ’t Veld, A. J. (2014). Finite-difference time-domain modeling of laser-induced periodic surface structures. In Physics Procedia (Vol. 56, pp. 1325–1333). Elsevier B.V. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phpro.2014.08.058