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Product Code: ICA13_M403

Sapphire Cutting with Pulsed Fiber Lasers
Authors:
Christoph Ruettimann, LASAG AG; Thun Switzerland
Noemie Dury, Rofin-Lasag Ag; Thun Switzerland
Colin Woratz, Rofin-Lasag Ag; Thun Switzerland
Stefan Woessner, Manz Ag; Reutlingen Germany
Presented at ICALEO 2013

Sapphire cutting is currently one of the largest emerging markets in laser materials processing. Sapphire is one of the hardest existing transparent materials. Its mechanical and optical properties made it the ideal and precious choice for various components like cover glasses of watches, displays of mobile devices, protection windows for cameras, or LED carriers. Sapphire cutting with solid state lasers (e.g. LPSSL) is well known since many years and has become a state-of-the-art industrial process. However, achievable process speed and cut quality are limited, and running costs are relatively high. Recent advances in fiber laser, as well as short and ultra-short pulsed laser technology have brought the sapphire cutting process to a new level of performance. Cutting speed and quality can be significantly improved at lower running costs. This paper focuses on cutting of polished, unpolished and colored sapphire with high-brightness pulsed fiber lasers. The cutting process itself, as well as the achieved quality (chipping, cracks, burr, etc.), speed, and costs are discussed. Strategies how to significantly improve efficiency by means of process parallelization and energy sharing are presented. Finally, this thermal cutting process is compared to ultra-short pulse laser processing of sapphire.

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