In this paper, we apply the generalized thermoelastic theory with mass diffusion to a two-dimensional problem for a half-space. The surface of the half-space is taken to be traction-free and heated by laser pulse. The analytical solution is adopted for the temperature, the displacement components, concentration, the stress components and chemical potential. The nonhomogeneous basic equations have been written in the form of a vector–matrix differential equation, which is then solved using the eigenvalue approach. A comparison is made in the case of the absence and presence of a mass diffusion between the coupled and Lord–Shulman theories. The results obtained are presented graphically for the effects of the laser pulse and the mass diffusion to display the phenomena of physical significance.