Product Code: ICAL06_P523

A System for the Removal of Debris Produced during Laser Micromachining
Colin Dowding, Loughborough University; Leicestershire Great Britain
Jonathan Lawrence, Loughborough University; Leicestershire Great Britain
Presented at ICALEO 2006

This paper describes an attempt to solve the issue of removing debris produced in the large-area laser micromachining of micron-scale arrayed geometric features in metals, ceramics and polymers. This was achieved by developing a system that not only hypothetically, but practically limited the build up of debris on the laser micromachined surface, thereby increasing the yield rate of the process. It is often undesirable to use mechanical means to remove the debris from laser micromachined micron-scale features due to the potential for damage to the features themselves. Removal using gas jetting and vacuum extraction is ineffective on account of the large adhesion forces at work. Instead, vibration-based methods are touted alongside the use of immersion as being the most effective. The system described herein was developed using fundamental theory and analytical means (computational fluid dynamics (CFD)) to clarify ideas and refine the design of the debris removal system through an iterative process. In situ testing of the final design showed it to be capable of producing a flow sufficient to provide a clean, square "water window" of 25 mm x 5 mm at a rate of 200 Hz - operating parameters that proved to be more than adequate.

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