Clean results with UV laser radiation
11/24/2004

Speed, quality and costs are important factors in industrial microprocessing. The European Union therefore supported the FLAME research project with the aim to qualify flexible microprocessing using UV laser radiation as an alternative to chemical removal processes, lithography or other microprocessing methods. Based upon the know-how that was gained at LZH about laser microprocessing of different materials, such as thin metal layers, polymers and ceramics, the project partners were able to develop a flexible 3D microstructuring workstation.

This is the first laser-assisted microprocessing workstation that fulfils the industry’s demands on the <10 µm range. The core of the system is a solid-state laser with high pulse repetition rates of up to 100 kHz and a laser beam focus diameter of only 2 µm on the processing level. The workstation includes highly precise positioning and monitoring systems as well as a comprehensive software kit for the control of the laser and process simulation.

For example Silicon for inkjet printer heads can be cut using UV laser radiation. At present, grooves (4 mm x 0.5 mm) for the exit of the inkjet beam are cut by particle beams consisting of aluminium oxide. But here, the wafers are contaminated by Al02 particles in a way that several cleaning steps are necessary. By means of the laser processing at high pulse repetition rates the contaminations on the wafer were reduced to a minimum – at a process time of only 60 s.

An exceptionally efficient processing time could even be achieved when structuring microoptical elements in “Ormocer” solgel. Although energy input is a critical issue with this material, the processing using UV laser radiation left no microcracks. The processing time can be further reduced by adding laser-beam absorbing substances to the solgel. Further cutting applications in industry are already being carried out. The industrial use of UV laser radiation is expected to grow with increasing laser power.

*Flexible Laser Assisted Micro-Machining

Business Development & Communications Department
Michael Botts
Public Relations
Tel.: +49 511 2788-151
Fax: +49 511 2788-100
The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) carries out research and development in the field of laser technology and is supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Transport of the State of Lower Saxony (Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Verkehr).