Ultra-fast laser micromachining system
6-D Laser LLC, a member of Alio Industries’ motion control and micromachining family of companies, developed an integrated, ultra-fast laser micromachining system that combines high-speed galvo scanning with the positioning capabilities of Alio’s Hybrid Hexapod.
Alio’s Hybrid Hexapod takes a different approach to traditional 6 degree of freedom (6-DOF) positioning devices and exhibits much higher performance. Rather than 6 independent legs (and 12 connection joints) Alio’s approach combines a precision X-Y monolithic stage, tripod, and continuous rotation theta-Z axis to provide superior overall performance.
The combination of serial and parallel kinematics at the heart of Alio’s 6-D nano precision is characterized by orders-of-magnitude improvements (when compared to traditional hexapods) in precision, path performance, speed, and stiffness The Hybrid Hexapod also has a larger work envelope than traditional hexapods with virtually unlimited X-Y travel and fully programmable tool center point locations. The Hybrid Hexapod has less than 100nm point precision repeatability, in 3-dimensional space.
Introducing an integrated ultrafast laser micromachining system that combines the positioning capabilities of the Hybrid Hexapod, with high-speed optical scanning, leads to a system that can process hard, transparent materials with wide-range taper angle control for the creation of high aspect ratio features in thick substrates, without limitations on the feature or field size.
Ultra-fast laser ablative processes, which remove material in a layer-by-layer process, result in machined features that have a significant side wall taper. For example, a desired cylindrical hole will have a conical profile. Taper formation is difficult to avoid in laser micromachining processes that are creating deep features (>100 microns). Precision scan heads can create features with near-zero angle side walls, however, they are limited to small angles of incidence (AOI) and small field sizes by the optics in the beamline. 6-D Laser’s micromachining system controls the AOI and resulting wall taper angle through the Hybrid Hexapod motion system, and the programmable tool center point allows for the control of the AOI over the entire galvo scan field, enabling the processing of large features.