Owing to its specific properties, such as non-contact manufacturing, no mechanical cutting forces, and no process tool wear, laser micromachining of transparent materials such as glass is an ideal method. However, the use of traditional lasers to machine tungsten carbide, such as the nanosecond pulsed laser, has been found to induce thermal effects, issues with residual material redeposition, and other problems.

Picosecond pulsed laser has evolved as an efficient micromachining process. This technique can drill high-quality microholes, engrave various features, and produce micro or nano surface structures on a transparent surface.

Laser micromachining of glass (transparent materials)

The high clarity, strength, and chemical inertness of glass are the reasons why picosecond laser micromachining is commonly used in many consumer electronics. Its applications cover touchscreens, mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones, and flat-screen TVs. Besides, future systems are expected to focus more heavily on the glass substrate to provide increased structural rigidity and introduce feature holes needed to be drilled into the glass.

However, as glass substrates are thinner to accommodate smaller and lightweight products, conventional glass drilling methods fail to retain the necessary consistency. It is crucial that edge cracking and residual edge tension are eliminated for touchscreens where panels nearly often break from the edge, even though stress is applied to the center. This problem can be solved by the high peak power of picosecond lasers.

Since glass is practically invisible to visible wavelengths, only infrared or ultraviolet wavelengths are used. The highest total processing power for full removal speeds is 1064 nm, although the UV range is ideal for thinner glass plates. For example, when high quality, 1 mm diam. holes are drilled in 1 mm thick D236T glass using 1064 nm picosecond pulses, there are no micro-cracks on the edges or sidewalls, preventing fractures, ideal for handheld devices.

Laserod Technologies is one of the industry’s commanding experts in laser micromachining of polymers & other substrates for microscale applications. Our high pulse femtosecond and picosecond laser micromachining are uniquely suited for microscale-polymer machining for many applications. For all kinds of grooving, slotting, or scribing thin materials, metals and polymers, contact Laserod today at 1-888-991-9916 / 1-310-340-1343 for projects and inquiries!