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Picosecond Laser Workstation

IPG Photonics, Microsystems Div.
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For Micromachining Tough Materials
MANCHESTER, N.H., May 27, 2008 -- JP Sercel Associates (JPSA) said its new picosecond (ps) laser micromachining system is allowing its engineers to find faster and more precise ways to micromachine hard substances such as ceramics and diamond metals, and even soft materials such as polymers.

Picosecond refers to the "ultrafast" time duration of the laser's pulse width, one millionth of a millionth of a second (10-12 seconds). Ultrafast lasers permit high-resolution micromachining because the short pulses with their high peak power vaporize the material before thermal diffusion imparts undesirable heat into the work piece, the company said. This allows high density features to be produced without microcracking and burring.

JPSALaserWorkstation.jpgAn ultrafast pulse removes material very quickly and efficiently with sub-micron accuracy. The precise control of the laser allows it to be used like a drill, but with a drill bit as small as 5 µm in diameter that does not dull and does not break, JPSA said.

JPSA engineers developed the ps laser workstation based on its IX-100 laser system to micromachine silicon carbide (SiC) mirror surfaces for a high-resolution application. SiC is a tough material that keeps drill bits from dulling, withstands the high heat of power circuitry and is used to make mirrors because it expands and contracts very little during temperature changes, the company said.

Using the IX-100 laser tool, the custom-configured ps workstation can micromachine surfaces as large as 12 in. x 12 in., producing features as small as a few microns, according to JPSA. Due to its high rep rate, the ps laser workstation is not dependent upon a specific wavelength to operate efficiently, but can use a range of wavelengths for greater flexibility.

JPSA said it designed and fabricated the custom picosecond laser workstation to produce SiC mirrors, with its large-format linear glass encoded X-Y stages and a custom-modified high-speed, high-precision rotational stage for this application. The company also engineered a laser beam delivery system designed for high-precision ps laser applications and its Microtech process camera/inspection camera setup; all elements are coordinated with JPSA's Windows-based high-precision motion-control system.

For more information, visit:; e-mail: [email protected]

JP Sercel Associates
220 Hackett Hill Rd.
Manchester, NH 03102
Phone: (603) 518-3200
Fax: (603) 518-3298
May 2008
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