Processing of
polymers by UV picosecond lasers

Application note No. AN0912IL02

Gediminas Raciukaitis, Mindaugas Gedvilas

Laser micromachining has been proven an excellent technique for patterning many engineering materials. The emitted photon energy from a UV laser is high enough to break the chemical bonds of the target reducing the heat effects on surrounding material. We present the results obtained by investigation of the laser ablation processes with picosecond pulses in about 20 different organic materials. Micro-drilling and cutting of polymers were performed by the 266- nm radiation. The effect of laser fluence on the ablation rate and drilling depth was investigated. Most of the materials showed two ablation thresholds. One of them was below 1 J/cm2 with a low material removal rate. Another threshold was spread in the range of 3 – 30 J/cm2 and the rapid increase in the ablation rate was found above it. The results are discussed in connection with optical ant thermal properties of the materials. The thermal activation of the ablation plays an important role at low fluences. The processing regimes of polymers were proved at formation of microstructures. UV laser radiation with the picosecond pulse duration can be useful in manufacturing micro-systems for diverse technical applications.

EKSPLA note: due to the continuous product improvements, laser models were replaced respectively: NL640 and NL15100 were replaced by Baltic and BalticHP series, PL10100 was replaced by Atlantic series.