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Ultraviolet (UV) laser light is an ideal tool for many micromachining applications. The short wavelength results in two major advantages: it allows the production of very small features and the effect on the surrounding material is minimal due to the non-thermal interaction.
There are two major technical breakthroughs that make UV lasers more and more useful in industrial applications. First is the dramatic maturation in excimer laser design. State-of-the-art excimer lasers using advanced technologies feature extended component lifetime, high reliability, low maintenance downtime and low running costs. The second breakthrough is in the area of diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) lasers. New generation lasers deliver high peak power, high repetition rates, and excellent beam quality (TEM00). They are also available with frequency conversion down to the fourth harmonic (266 nm).
Both advances make UV lasers more attractive to industrial users. As a result they became implemented in a wide range of micromachining applications. The following text outlines some important applications and specific laser requirements.
This photo shows excimer-micromachined script on a 120 micrometer diameter human hair. This is an example of high-resolution direct-ablation by mask imaging. This technique can produce resolved features down to a couple of microns.
Unique Application Examples for Excimer Laser Microstructuring
Images courtesy of Laser Laboratorium, Goettingen, Germany