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The dynamics of ultrashort shock waves induced by femtosecond laser pulses were explored in nickel-glass and free-standing nickel films by molecular dynamics simulations. Ultrafast laser heating causes stress-confinement, which is characterized by formation of a strongly pressurized 100-nm-thick zone just below the surface of the film. For low-intensity laser pulses, only a single elastic shock wave was formed despite pressures several times greater than the experimental Hugoniot elastic limit.doi:10.1063/1.3686486 fatcat:3ghhdilelrbzteeg374jwi65be