Laser Micromachining of Ceramic Materials
Ceramic materials are found in multiple applications in modern industries. Unique properties of ceramics such as high dielectric strength, thermal and chemical stability, mechanical properties and hardness make them the material of choice for design engineers. Piezo effect, some optical properties, ability to be polished, thermal conductivity and many other unique qualities are used by different industries.
The main process used to make ceramic parts is molding followed by mechanical machining (before or after firing).
Conventional Carbon Dioxide and Nd-YAG lasers are widely used to cut, drill, and machine ceramic materials when the edge quality is not a concern and when feature sizes are relatively large.
The need for smaller and smaller high precision parts drives the technology development to apply Laser Micromachining to ceramic materials. Laser Micromachining processes using High Resolution Lasers can produce very small features on ceramics without heat affected zones or microcracking, while at the same time producing good edge quality.
Three basic applications of Laser Micromachining applied to ceramic materials are:
- Producing small holes and slots of any shape through a wafer
- Cutting out (singulation) of devices from a wafer
- Machining conductive coatings on the surface (selective machining) without any damage to the ceramic body
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