This paper presents a numerical model, which quantitatively demonstrates that ablation and partial recondensation of the dopant precursor layer are some of the dominating physical processes in laser doping (LD) of crystalline silicon. Our pulsed LD process uses a line focused laser beam, enabling the creation of solar cell emitters without the generation of dislocations, if the width w of the short axis of the line focus is w < 10 μm. The concentration profiles of the dopant atoms strongly depend on the pulse energy density Ep, the pulse to pulse separation Δx and the number of laser scans Ns. By comparing measured with modeled concentration profiles, we are able to evaluate the ablation width as well as the amount of the ablated precursor layer. In case of a sputtered phosphorus precursor layer, the ablation width wa is wa = 6 μm, whereas the width of the molten silicon layer wm is wm = 5 μm. The model also explains the dependence of experimental dopant concentration profiles on the number of subsequent laser scans Ns and pulse to pulse separation Δx. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.