Laser hole drilling of vias, micro holes, pinholes, nozzles, orifices, and slots meet a variety of applications such as instrumentation, print heads, bio-sensors, high-density interconnects, filters, medical devices, and aerospace components. Dimensional and positional tolerances of 5um or better are achieved. MLT laser drilling processes utilize various wavelengths including ultraviolet (UV), infra-red (IR), or hybrid (both UV and IR) depending on the hole diameter and material selection.
Hole quality is subjective to the criteria of the design’s form, fit, and function. Process time or cost may also determine the level of quality required. Laser produced hole quality is assessed in terms of roundness, taper, entrance and exit diameter tolerances, oxidation (i.e. metals), burring or recast layer, and micro-cracking (i.e. glass).
Aspect ratios and material selection are elements that contribute to straight wall or tapered hole profiles. Laser drilling can be used to produce 10um and larger diameter holes in most any material including metals, ceramics, plastics, silicon, rubbers, and glass. MLT laser drilling processes match the optimal wavelength and beam profile for the absorption property of the specified material. These processes are derived from two core laser drilling methodologies, percussion and trepanning.
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Percussion Laser Drilling
Percussion laser drilling is a focused beam of firing pulses (energy) at a single location on a work-piece. Pulse by pulse, the laser ablates material from the hole through the process of melting and vaporizing. The smallest, repeatable hole diameter is about 50% of the actual beam diameter (20um) with controlled taper. This is achieved with a material thickness greater than the beam diameter itself. In most cases, percussion drilling has the advantage of speed over other laser drilling techniques.
The trepanning method is the overlapping of energy in a spiral configuration to cover an area larger than the beam diameter itself. Starting from the diameter center, the beam moves in an increasing spiral diameter until the desired dimension is achieved. Similarly, other custom spiraling pattern files are utilized to create irregular shapes, counter-bores, and slots.
CAD system integration and custom file converters enable flexible, laser manufacturing from customer-provided data. Although most file types are accepted, the preferred file types for laser drilling are Gerber, Excellon, DXF, or other 2D formats.
For more CAM/CAD guidelines and detailed requirements, click CAD Requirements.