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Analysis of KrF excimer laser beam modification resulting from ablation under closed thick film flowing filtered water

By Colin Dowding and Jonathan Lawrence


The application of closed thick film liquid to immerse the ablation etching mechanism of an excimer laser poses interesting possibilities concerning debris control, modification of machined feature topography and modification of ablation rate. Further more, these parameters have been shown to be dependant on flow velocity; hence offering further user control of machining characteristics. However the impact of this technique requires investigation. This contribution offers comparison of the calculated ablation pressure and the effect on feature surface characteristics given for laser ablation of bisphenol A polycarbonate using KrF excimer laser radiation in ambient air against laser ablation of the same substrate under closed thick film flowing filtered water immersion. Also, the impact of such immersion equipment on the optical performance of the micromachining centre used is quantified and reviewed. The pressure is calculated to have risen some 53% when using the liquid immersed ablation technique. This increase in pressure is proposed to have promoted the frequency of surface Plasmons and asperities with a surface area less than 16 µm2. The focal length of the optical system was accurately predicted to be increased by 2.958 mm when using the equipment composed of a 5 mm thick ultraviolet grade fused silica window covering a 1.5 mm thick film of filtered water flowing at 1.85 m/s. This equipment was predicted to have increased the optical depth of focus via reduction in the angle of convergence of the two defining image rays, yet the perceived focus, measured by mean feature wall angle as a discrete indication, was found to be 25% smaller when using the closed thick film flowing filtered water immersion technique than when laser ablating in ambient air. A compressed plume interaction is proposed as a contributing factor in this change

Topics: H680 Optoelectronic Engineering, H700 Production and Manufacturing Engineering, F361 Laser Physics, H300 Mechanical Engineering
Publisher: Elsevier / Butterworth Heinemann
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.optlastec.2010.10.004
OAI identifier:

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