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Laser Firms Partner on New Glass Cutting Tech

Photonics.com
Sep 2012
PORTLAND, Ore., and KRAILING, Germany, Sept. 4, 2012 — Germany- and US-based industrial laser companies InnoLas Systems, FiLaser and Lumera Laser have allied to bring new glass cutting technology to market, the trio announced Friday.

Under the partnership, InnoLas, of Germany, has licensed process technology developed by the Portland-based FiLase and will use ultrashort-pulse lasers produced exclusively for InnoLas by Lumera, also based in Germany. The turnkey system, designed for cutting glass, sapphire and other brittle materials, will be available exclusively through InnoLas.

Conventional laser cutting is based on rapid heating that leads to vaporization and materials that must be removed postprocessing. These additional grinding and polishing steps are costly and time-consuming.

FiLase's filament-cutting technology uses ultrashort (picosecond) laser pulses that cut brittle materials via plasma dissociation. This new process ensures lower surface roughness, high bend strength and faster processing speed. It works especially well on chemically strengthened (Corning's Gorilla Glass, etc.) glass and sapphire, which have been difficult to cut with conventional methods, the companies said.

Filament cutting enables a higher quality, throughput and yield in the production of touch-screen displays for smartphones and tablet PCs. Additional application areas include silicon, silicon carbide and gallium arsenide at very high speeds.

"We have created a novel laser process technology that is at the nexus of physics and materials science," said FiLaser CEO Jeffrey Albelo. "It is purely disruptive and will provide our customers with a compelling motivation to acquire this capability. Looking ahead, we have great expectations, as the application potential spans far beyond glass, sapphire and wafer singulation."

"Up to now, the field of glass cutting had mostly been the domain of high-average-power CW lasers. The FiLaser technology utilizes unique aspects of our ultrafast lasers, providing a fast and high-quality solution," said Dr. Achim Nebel, CEO of Lumera Laser.

For more information, visit: www.innolas.com, www.filaser.com or www.lumera-laser.com


GLOSSARY
grinding
The process in the manufacture of an optical system that gives it the required geometric shape.
polishing
The optical process, following grinding, that puts a highly finished, smooth and apparently amorphous surface on a lens or a mirror.
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