Laser Micromachining

This article takes a closer look at the latest developments in laser micromachining, and what sets this technology apart from traditional machining methods.

What is laser micromachining?

Laser micromachining utilizes lasers to manufacture incredibly small features and and micro components. This process uses a high-powered laser beam focused onto a material, causing it to ablate or vaporize. By precisely controlling the laser parameters, it is possible to create intricate features with resolution on the micro or even on the nanometer scale. Thus, this technology is creating new possibilities in industries such as medical device, bio-tech, aerospace, and more.

Advancements in micromanufacturing by laser?

Recent innovations in laser micromanufacturing of precision components are advancing the capabilities and applications of this technology.

Femtosecond Laser

These ultra fast lasers apply pulses measured in femtoseconds (10^-15 seconds), creating extremely precise geometries with minimal heat affected zone. Moreover, they are effective in machining materials that traditional machining cannot, including glass, ceramics, and polymers.

Laser Hybrid Micromachining

Laser hybrid micromanufacturing combines laser machining with various other micromanufacturing techniques, such as turning or electron discharge machining (EDM) to manufacture micro components that could not otherwise be made by laser alone.

Real Time Process Monitoring

This process uses real time monitoring by various sensors to ensure precision and to make real time corrections, thus allowing for unprecedented micromachining accuracies and tolerances.

laser micromachining
Femtosecond laser allows micromachining of this extremely small web pattern

What sets laser micromachining apart from traditional micromachining?

There are several key capabilities of laser micromanufacturing that make this process ideal as compared to other traditional machining methods. Some of which include:

Extreme Precision

Femtosecond laser provides perhaps the highest machining resolution of all manufacturing methods, with kerf widths on the micron scale. This makes laser machining ideal for the tiniest and intricate of micromachined parts and features.

Non-contact Process

Micro processing via laser differs from traditional machining in that it does not make hard physical contact with the part to be manufactured, and thus is a great choice for processing intricate and burr free features on fragile materials.

Robust Material Selection

Laser machining is highly capable of processing a variety of materials that traditional machining cannot, including: brittle metals (e.g. tungsten), plastics, ceramics, semiconductors, and elastomers (e.g. silicone).

Reduces Post Processing

Processing by laser alone results in high quality burr free surface finishes, hence this process eliminates the need for post processing steps such as deburring and polishing.

In need of laser micromachining services? Let us help.

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