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Pelham, NH, United States

Schaeffer R.D.,PhotoMachining, Inc.
Materials World | Year: 2011

The invention of highly focusable carbon dioxide lasers, UV lasers and ultra short pulse lasers has opened up new fields, allowing plastics to be processed with high speeds and very clean edge quality. Lasers can also be used to weld and mark plastics and other materials, but here the focus is on material removal such as cutting and drilling. Minimum achievable spot size is determined by a constant multiplied by the laser wavelength, focusability of the laser, focal length of the focusing lens, all divided by the clear aperture of the lens. Beam delivery is also important. Galvanometer beam delivery systems are much faster than using table motion alone, even when using high- speed linear tables or air bearing tables. In general, higher power and higher repetition rate lasers are also faster to a point, but usually it is difficult in most cases to use more than a few hundred kHz on target because the beam cannot be moved fast enough.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.82K | Year: 2010

This proposal uses commercially available products in a new and unique way to deliver multiple laser beams to the target simultaneously in order to increase processing efficiency. We will demonstrate the idea using mostly low power lasers available to us, but it can be scaled up using larger lasers. In addition, we will investigate methods of process monitoring to determine when the metal layer has been reached. We hope to demonstrate cycle times of less than 10 minutes per part and compare our data with other available methods. The method should address TCB thickness variations (0.005" - 0.020"), end point detection, no damage to underlying layers and zero recast. BENEFIT: Anticipated results will be applicable to not only removal of TBC coatings, but should also have application in other areas such as high speed hole drilling. The proposed Phase I work will determine the fundamental laser parameters required to controllably remove TBC coatings at high speed. This includes the optical set up and controlled feedback loops. Variations on the optical set up and choice of laser could be used in a variety of other areas, but in the aerospace/defense arena as well as the commercial manufacturing arena.

Materials Most popular materials requiring laser processing are: Plastics, polymers Metals, including special alloys and refractory metals Ceramics, glass Gem stones, minerals, diamond (including CVD films) Whenever traditional technology fails, laser-assisted photomachining offers a cost effective and reliable solution. PhotoMachining demonstrates a fewreal lifeexamples of laserprocessed parts below on this page ...

Laser tools can make vias or orifices in virtually any material, from a thin plastic film to a ceramic wafer or CVD diamond coating. A tightly focused laser beam is an ideal tool, replacing hard tool bits in the manufacturing process ...

Excimer Laser Systems UV photons can now be obtained from several other different laser sources, but excimer lasers, despite their drawbacks, still can do things no other lasers can do and, in some cases(a lot of small holes on closecenters), they can be economic since they use mask imaging instead of single point drilling. The resonator cavity configuration produces a beam ideal for near-field imaging and the high peak power of the laser beam permits ablation of the target material with little or no heat affected zone ...

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