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Controlled Hole-Tapering
Apr 2008
IPG Photonics, Microsystems Div.
MANCHESTER, N.H., April 17, 2008 -- J P Sercel Associates (JPSA) announced its job shop now offers excimer laser drilling with controlled hole tapering. This means that holes of varying sizes in a wide variety of soft or hard materials can be drilled with straight or vertical walls regardless of the thickness of the material drilled through. JPSA can also drill holes with a controlled taper (i.e., user-defined angle) as well as vertical, or "taperless" ones.

"In the past, one typical problem with laser drilling would be the existence of a taper, which becomes more of an issue the smaller the hole, and the thicker the material. The hole entrance would be larger than the exit. Although a tapered hole can sometimes be a requirement, more often the application requires a taperless hole," said Rick Slagle, sales and marketing director. "Now, with the use of specially-designed optics, JPSA's laser engineers are able to control this tapering effect, and can even eliminate it to produce taper-free holes in many different materials including ceramics such as alumina, silicon nitride, and polymers such as polyimide."
Silicon nitride sectioned hole, approximately 1-mm deep, with parallel sides. (Photo: JPSA)
According to JPSA Sales Manager Doug Pulfer, zero-taper holes are needed for probe cards, where the thin pin needs to be precisely guided to the contact for testing; high-density filter arrays; x-ray apertures and controlled-flow nozzles. Tapered holes are commonly needed for ink-jet printing and other hydrodynamic applications.

Slagle said that the controlled tapering effect can be achieved over a wide range of material thicknesses (unaffected by a high aspect ratio) from tens of microns to hundreds of microns, with hole dimensions that can be of the order of a few microns to hundreds of microns.

"Moreover, with an excimer projection system, the variety of shapes that we are able to machine are unlimited. They range from round to rectangular and may include other sharply-defined features. The process can be optimized to process a large number of holes simultaneously, or various types of holes in an automated fashion. Due to excimer laser beam characteristics, a spatially-uniform beam can be formed, thus allowing machining of perfectly-defined blind holes. Thus, we can easily machine 3-D features where, for example, we can actually micromachine smaller features within larger ones," Slagle said. 

For more information, visit:; e-mail:

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

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