The foundation of our industrialized society depends on technological advancement. For a manufacturer, producing a tangible product has often meant shaping, modifying, and joining different materials. That means creating more complex products, utilizing fewer resources, and becoming more cost-effective, year after year. Production processes have now had to switch from conventional machining to modern high-power UV laser micromachining.
Industries such as energy, transportation, and consumer electronics need better pricing for ever-increasing features. Medical devices benefit from improved miniaturization but must also meet rigorous limits on biocompatibility. Products for these industries need continued improvement in size and cost reduction while at the same time improving capabilities. Femtosecond and picosecond laser micromachining has, in large part, enabled this achievement, especially in markets with acute sensitivity to scale or constraints.
Advantages of high-powered UV lasers
For precision micromachining, UV lasers such as femtosecond and picosecond lasers have certain inherent benefits over their longer wavelength counterparts. To produce better quality outcomes, shorter wavelengths and shorter pulse widths are crucial. The optical propagation wavelength dependency ensures that the strength of a short wavelength beam can be concentrated on a smaller spot scale. For a larger distance (known as the depth of field), a beam can retain its minimum diameter.
This makes it possible for a drilled hole to have less taper or less target position sensitivity than for a longer wavelength beam concentrated at the same distance. Most surfaces heavily absorb UV, and hence the energy of the beam is absorbed within a shallow layer, aiding in the surface ejection of material.
The optical strength of pulses of a given temporal length is given by a standard industrial UV laser. Each pulse reacts strongly with the surface of the material, thereby causing the material to be removed with each pulse. Although only a small amount of material can be removed with each pulse, delivering these pulses at a high pulse repetition rate (PRF) allows accurately regulated features which can be easily produced.
The smaller attainable spot sizes make for smaller kerfs (cutting widths), greater consistency in smaller areas of redeposited material, and less total heat deposited into the workpiece. The adverse thermal effects impacting the surrounding material’s (HAZ) properties are then reduced.
As for pulse widths, in the picosecond regime, ultrashort pulses generate extreme peak powers that result in nonlinear absorption in the substrates for instantaneous vaporization of material, with very limited deposition of heat into the material and negligible HAZ. This is generally referred to as a method of “cold ablation.”
Process yield and throughput can be improved by high-power UV lasers such as femtosecond and picosecond laser micromachining. The significant throughput increases result from better processing efficiency & higher average power, resulting in lower overall laser machining costs.
Laserod Technologies is one of the industry’s commanding experts in laser micromachining of polymers & other substrates for microscale applications. Our high pulse femtosecond and picosecond laser micromachining are uniquely suited for microscale-polymer machining for many applications. For all kinds of grooving, slotting, or scribing thin materials, metals and polymers, contact Laserod today at 1-888-991-9916 / 1-310-340-1343 for projects and inquiries!