Laser Micromachining Systems
Frequently Asked Questions
Laser micromachining is a subtractive manufacturing process that utilizes precisely controlled laser beams to selectively remove material from an object with microscopic and often with nanometer level precision. The material is removed by the energy deposited by the laser pulses. While the mechanism of interaction of laser pulses with the matter can be thermal in some cases (mindful of the ultrafast laser) the interaction mechanism can be a lot more complex.
Laser micromachining systems allow surface treatment with microscopic level precision. As a result they find applications wherever microstructuring of a surface is required. Common applications include the creation of microholes and high aspect-ratio holes by tailored laser pulses, printing the fluid channels in microfluidic devices, microelectronics, biomedical device manufacturing (e.g. stents) and more.
Laser micromachining platforms typically use solid state lasers. While DPSS systems such as pulsed ND:YAG , pulsed Nd:YLF are common, ultrafast laser systems become utilized increasingly more often thanks to the high peak powers delivered by fs and ps laser pulses. Some custom platforms also used tailored laser pulse trains that contain specific temporal profile that unleash some unique material processing capabilities.
Meals, ceramics, glass and some plastics are great candidates for processing using micromachining lasers.
Microholes are tiny holes, often with only a few micrometers in diameter. Understandably, these types of holes are almost impossible to drill through mechanical means. Laser micromachining systems have proven as the ideal system for creating such tiny holes in a variety of different materials. Moreover, by selecting the appropriate laser source one can create such microholes with high aspect ratio where the depth of the hole is many times the diameter.
Motion control in laser micromachining platforms is accomplished in two primary ways: either using linear motion control where the laser beam is steered along the linear axes or through Galvanometric scan heads that utilize F-theta angular motion control. Often linear motion control is accompanies with rotary axes to allow machining round objects. Some micromachining systems come with piezoelectric actuators that allow ultra-precise control of the laser beam.
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