Techniques for removing material from a substrate are provided. A laser beam is focused at a distance from the surface to be treated. A gas is provided at the focus point. The gas is dissociated using the laser energy to generate gas plasma. The substrate is then brought in contact with the gas plasma to enable material removal.
STATEMENT AS TO RIGHTS TO INVENTIONS MADE UNDER FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
 The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC52-07NA27344 between the U.S. Department of Energy and Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.