Carbon nanocomposites consist of thermoset and thermoplastic materials filled with carbon nano-particles (nanotubes, bucky balls, etc.). This innovative group of materials offers many advantages over standard polymers such as electrical/thermal conductivity and improved structural properties. In the current study, an Yb:KGW solid-state femtosecond laser and an Nd:YVO4 solid-state nanosecond laser were used to micromachine oxidized multi-wall carbon nanotube (MWCNT) doped morthane. The experimentation studied the relationship between various laser-processing parameters including laser pulse duration, pulse energy, beam scanning speed, and average power. The processing consisted of cutting channels into the materials using 1048 nm wavelength at 400 fs pulse duration, 1064 nm wavelength at 40 ns pulse duration, and 355 nm wavelength at 35 ns pulse duration. Additionally, the effects of oxidized MWCNT fill percentage were considered. The material removal rate was quantified for each experimental condition. The experimental results are discussed in terms of material removal rates, machining quality, and achievable feature size.
Carbon nanocomposites consist of thermoset or thermoplastic materials filled with carbon nano-particles (nanotubes, bucky balls, etc.). This new and innovative group of materials offers many advantages over standard polymers such as electrical/thermal conductivity and improved structural properties. In the current study, direct diode and Nd:YAG solid-state lasers were used to transmission weld -carbon nanocomposite materials. The experimentation was focused on exploiting the infrared absorbing characteristics of the carbon nanocomposites. Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) based polymer was used in the initial experimentation to quantify weld strength. The experimentation included a complete analysis of the transmission characteristics of the base polymer at 810 nm and 1,064 nm wavelengths, an optical microscope view of the weld cross-section, and transmission welding experimentation. The transmission welding experimentation studied the relationship between average power, travel speed, and weld peel strength. A micro-channel welding experiment was also completed using a polycarbonate (PC) based polymer. The experimentation qualified the minimum feature size that could be joined. The resulsts show that the carbon nanocomposites can be welded in a similar way to carbon black filled materials. The carbon nanocomposites exhibited higher peel strengths at lower average laser power at both 810 and 1064 nm. The carbon nanocomposite material exhibited a unique characteristic of being able to be machined and welded by the same laser wavelength.
Carbon nanocomposites consist of thermoset and thermoplastic materials filled with carbon nano-particles (nanotubes, bucky balls, etc.). This new and innovative group of materials offers many advantages over standard polymers such as electrical/thermal conductivity and improved structural properties. In the current study, Nd:YAG and Nd:YVO4 solid-state lasers were used to micromachine carbon nanocomposite thermoplastic materials. Experimentation was completed to compare the ability to laser micromachine carbon nanomaterial, carbon black, and unfilled polyurethane. The experimentation studied the relationship between repetition rate, travel speed, and material removal rate. The processing consisted of cutting channels into the materials using an Nd:YVO4 laser at 1064, 532, and 355 nm wavelengths. The material removal rate and groove width were quantified for all wavelengths and compared versus the experimental variables. Trials were also completed on laser machining deep channels using an Nd:YAG laser and polyetheretherketone (PEEK) filled with carbon black and carbon nanofiber. The results of the experimentation show similar material removal rates for carbon black and carbon nanofiber filled polyurethane. The PEEK material exhibited high aspect ratio channels with both carbon black and carbon nanofiber fillers. Laser micromachining of polymers whcih were previously unmachinable using infra-red has been demonstrated.
Laser micromachining of semiconductor materials such as silicon and sapphire has attracted more and more attention in recent years. High precision laser cutting and drilling processes have been successfully used in semiconductor, photonics, optoelectronics, and microelectromechanical system (MEMS) industries for applications including wafer dicing, scribing, direct via forming, and three-dimensional structuring. In the current study, Q-switched diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) lasers have been used to scribe grooves on silicon wafer substrates at different pulsewidths (10 and 32 ns), pulse repetition rates (30, 40, and 50 kHz), focal lengths (100 and 53 mm), and wavelengths (355 and 266 nm). Experimental results have been compared between different laser parameters including pulsewidth, power level, pulse repetition rate, and wavelength. It has been found that at the same average power and same repetition rate, the grooves scribed by the longer pulsewidth laser are deeper, while the shorter pulsewidth laser produces better quality cuts. However, the same short pulsewidth laser can produce deeper grooves by increasing its repetition rate and power. Moreover, given the same laser parameters, the shorter focal length objective produces deeper grooves than the longer focal length one but it does not reduce the feature size proportionally due to the complications induced by debris and recast materials. Finally, with the same optical set-up and laser output parameters, it appears that the 266 nm laser does not provide obvious advantage when compared to the 355 nm laser in these particular silicon scribing experiments. The implications of these results are also discussed.
Liquid crystal polymer (LCP) is a new and innovative material being used as an alternative to polyimide in the flexible circuit industry. LCP has many intrinsic benefits over polyimide including lower moisture absorption and improved dimensional stability. However, LCP is very resistant to chemical milling or etching. As a result, other methods for processing the material are being investigated including laser micromachining. In this paper, three frequency converted diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) Nd:YVO4 lasers at 355 nm were used to micromachine a LCP film and a copper/LCP laminate. Of them, two are Q-switched lasers operating in the nanosecond regime and the other a mode-locked laser in the picosecond regime. The Q-switched lasers can be operated at pulse repetition rates of 1 to 300 kHz while the mode-locked system is operated at 80 MHz. The micromachining experiments consisted of cutting the 50 μm thick LCP film, cutting the 18 μm thick copper on the film, and drilling micro-vias through both the copper coating and the film substrate. The laser/material interactions and processing speeds were studied and compared. The results show that, compared to polyimide film of the same thickness, LCP film can be more efficiently processed by laser micromachining. In addition, each laser has a unique advantage in processing LCP based flexible circuit materials. The Q-switched lasers are more capable of processing the copper coating while the mode-locked laser can cut LCP film faster with the smallest kerf width.
Laser ablation with a Q-switched diode-pumped Nd:YAG laser was used to produce grooves in H-13 tool steel and 6061 aluminum specimens. The relationships between laser wavelength, power and travel speed and the material removal rate, groove depth and quality were studied. Nondimensional relationships between the process and material variables and groove area and depth were found. The material removal rate was found to be significantly higher for the aluminum material. However, no significant increase in material removal or groove quality was found for the shorter wavelength laser energy. Significant recast was observed in grooves having a depth/width ratio larger than approximately 1 and all grooves had some amount of recast material remaining as a burr at the top edges.