High-power lasers can weaken, spall, melt, and vaporize Earth materials, with thermal spallation being the most energy-efficient rock-removal mechanism. The most interesting focus of recent laser rock-drilling research is on developing a laser rock-spallation technique to drill large and deep holes in rocks. Laser spallation has a rock-removal rate higher than conventional rotary drilling and flame-jet spallation. Research also is focused on the use of laser rock spallation to make perforation channels with improved permeability of the perforated rocks.
Xu, Z., Yamashita, Y., & Reed, C. B. (2006). Modeling laser-spallation rock drilling. JPT, Journal of Petroleum Technology, 58(2), 62–64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matchemphys.2005.05.045