The LPKF ProtoLaser R is the first com-pact laboratory laser with an ultrashort-pulse laser source. Its unique strengths are most obvious in the cold processing of thin layers.
In a re-cently presented tech paper, it demonstrated its precision on a special material. With a laser spot size of just 15 µm, it was able to structure and cut 0.2-mm-thick carbon tape for LTCC manufacturing.
The tech paper presents the test layout as well as the results in the form of microscope images with dimensions indicated. Scientific Prototyping Strategic Product Manager Lars Führmann is convinced: “On this materi-al, too, the LPKF ProtoLaser R demonstrates that USP processing is a key factor in achieving new, sophisticated product layouts.”
The tech paper, which is entitled Structuring and Cutting LTCC Carbon Tape, is immediately available for free download from the Knowledge Center on the LPKF website.
Free download from the LPKF Knowledge Center: The TechPaper LTCC Carbon Tape
LPKF Laser & Electronics AG manufactures machines and laser systems used in electronics fabrication, medical technology, the automotive sector, and the production of solar cells. Around 20 percent of the workforce is engaged in research and development.
For RF applications, the shorter the wavelength, the greater the effect of geometric deviations on the board. The LPKF ProtoLaser R uses an ultrashort-pulse laser for particularly precise and gentle processing.
“CuFlon” is the name of the high-performance base material offered by US company Polyflon for use in challenging RF applications. The dielectric material is a pure PTFE; the coating is produced in a separate process with precise coating thickness control. This combination yields high homogeneity, breakdown strength, and resistance to environmental factors.
Up until now, these substrates have been structured exclusively using etching processes. The high precision achievable by laser structuring without chemical etching processes has been demonstrated in an extensive series of tests performed by application engineers at LPKF Laser & Electronics AG.
The LPKF ProtoLaser R laboratory laser system was used in the tests. This laser system has an ultrashort-pulse laser, an output power of 4 W, and a pulse width of one picosecond for processing via cold ablation. The extremely short laser pulse evaporates a small amount of material so quickly that no heat is transferred to the surrounding material. Thus, thin or temperature-sensitive layers can be processed with high precision without any damage to the surrounding material. The laser spot size is a mere 15 µm and powerful system software is included.
A tricky layout on an area of 15.2 x 6.2 mm: narrow traces at a 45° angle, curves, and extremely small gaps. The sample produced by LPKF has dimensions of just 15.2 x 6.2 mm, but it contains a number of critical passages. It is 0.6 mm thick and coated with 18 µm of copper. The LPKF tech paper entitled “Structuring CuFlon on LPKF ProtoLaser R” considers the structuring results for selected elements. The tech paper can be downloaded for free at lpkf.de/knowledge-center
Micron-scale resolution – with today’s laser technology, resists for microcomponents can be produced cheaply and quickly. With a new compact laser system, individual trays are exposed directly.
LPKF, in cooperation with the Slovenian company Aresis and the University of Ljubljana, is developing new low-cost, fast processes for structuring of microcomponents. Maskless UV laser direct imaging (LDI) of photosensitive polymers (photoresists) offers numerous advantages over classic mask projection techniques.
Research and development in the field of microfluidic devices and micromechanical systems benefit from fast prototyping processes such as LPKF-LDI. Lab-on-a-chip devices help miniaturize processes and reduce liquid sample sizes as well as waste. This opens up tremendous possibilities for the LDI process in medicine, biology, chemistry, and physics. The applications are diverse – blood and cell analysis, medical diagnosis and screening, sensors (chemical, biological, environmental, and weapons technology; automotive engineering), synthesis of chemicals, and physical experiments.
Manufacturing microfluidic components
Three processes are mainly used to manufacture microfluidic devices on the scale of tens of nanometers to more than a hundred micrometers. The currently prevailing method of photolithography is primarily recommended for large-scale production. For frequent layout changes or low production quantities, though, the process is much too elaborate. In the electron beam method, the structures are written directly onto a resist. The electron beam has resolutions of between 20 and 50 nm. However, special resists, conductive substrates, a high vacuum, and an extraordinarily large amount of time are required for this process. With Laser Direct Imaging (LDI), a scanner-guided laser beam writes structures directly, rapidly, and precisely onto the photoresist without using a mask. This results in extremely smooth side wall edges.
LDI: fast, flexible, and precise
The LPKF ProtoLaser LDI can be used for production of microfluidic devices as well as MEMS, BioMEMS, integrated optics, and photonic experiments with microscale structures. In terms of precision, LDI surpasses all comparable systems for mask projection. Investment costs are considerably lower than for electron beam lithography and for numerous mask alignment systems. LDI even enables structuring of elements with web widths of less than a micron.
However, there are many more features: substrate exposure with a focused 375-nm TEM00 UV laser beam, which can also be used for standard UV resists; software-controllable laser focus (1 – 3 µm) for changing precision requirements; and an integrated camera for fine positioning of substrate and automated self-calibration as well as stitching mechanisms for real-time manufacturing of large samples.
The launch of the ProtoLaser LDI product will coincide with the presentation at MicroTAS in San Antonio, USA, from October 26 to October 30.
Laser & Electronics AG
D-30827 Garbsen www.lpkf.de
Electronica is one of the most important European trade show events for LPKF Laser & Electronics AG. In 2014 the specialist in micro-material processing with lasers will present its entire range of systems for electronics production and prototyping at Stand 419 in Hall A2.
Since the beginning of the year LPKF has been busy planning the development projects it will present at electronic fair. First up are two new systems for UV cutting of circuit boards. The MicroLine 2000 P was designed for cutting of flex boards and cover layers. Its counterpart, the MicroLine 2000 S, can be found at the end of the process chain, where it assumes the task of depaneling assembled boards – without mechanical stress and with minimized cutting widths. Both systems are available with different laser sources and come with a new, user-friendly product design.
Laser systems for structuring of three-dimensional molded interconnect devices (LDS) also have a new addition to the product family. The LPKF Fusion 3D 1200 laser structuring system can be equipped with up to three processing heads. It has a highly dynamic rotary indexing table that facilitates assembly and reduces non-productive time.
The StencilLaser field is always a prime area for innovation. After publishing methods for manufacturing step stencils last year, LPKF is now expanding the working range. With little effort, the StencilLaser G6080 can be extended to enable cutting of stencil frames with a length of 1800 mm (usable stencil length: 1500 mm). These stencils simplify the manufacturing of LED lights, which can be used in place of conventional fluorescent tubes.
Users of the LPKF ProtoLaser S and LPKF ProtoLaser U3 can profit from new system software. LPKF CircuitPro PL imports layout data and converts it to machine data. The software is based on the proven LPKF CircuitPro software and adds special routines for laser processing. For example, it can optimize the placement of scanning fields on large circuit boards and contains a technology dialog that greatly facilitates user operation. Structuring of circuit boards by laser is becoming faster and more precise because a special contour cutting feature optimizes the removal of excess copper surfaces.
Not to be missed
The proven prototyping lines will be on display at the stand with all top systems. The ProtoLaser U3 for circuit board structuring and micro-processing of delicate substrates, the ProtoMat D104, which combines mechanical and laser processing, and the complete MID prototyping line will all show what they can do at electronica at Stand 419 in Hall A2.
Laser & Electronics AG
D-30827 Garbsen www.lpkf.de
The laser system manufacturer from Lüneburg will celebrate its jubilee this year with a very special in-house exhibition. In addition to their latest innovations, the company from Northern Germany will also present an extensive partner exhibition with many famous companies covering all aspects of the topic production process and process automation.
Specialists for acrylic processes, industrial filter solutions, printing technology, packaging, automation technology, positioning systems and software will be present on-site at the fair.
Dates: September 11 and 12, 2014
Canon will present an Océ Arizona flatbed printer system with UV-hardening inks, with among other things live demonstrations of acrylic, PVC and polystyrene lightweight board printing. ACI Laser will be demonstrating the fascination of fast marking with CO2 and fibre lasers with two marking lasers. The English acrylic specialist ‘CR Clarke’ will be showcasing various machines for the processing of acrylic. And anyone wishing to find out more about the topic of machine leasing will have the opportunity of consulting with financing specialists. The list of exhibitors includes well-known names such as Evonik Industries, Bayer MaterialScience, 3A Composites, ULT, Erpa Systeme, Synrad, NovoCut®, Eurosystems, IKB Leasing, Regler Druckzentrum and many more.
Watchdog at the service of users
eurolaser will presenting its latest and unrivalled analysis tool ‘Watchdog’ to the public for the very first time. This live-monitoring tool enables customers to keep all key functions of their laser systems in view at all times. Its remote diagnostic function allows better planning of service jobs and faster fault removal. Visitors will be able to experience the diversity of the latest laser system technology on several CO2 laser systems. The new automatic shuttle table system that optimises handling processes and allows up to 75% more efficient operation will also be on show. Another key topic of the fair will be the use of modular systems that enable parallel use of a CO2 laser, milling and oscillating knives.
eurolaser cordially welcomes all interested visitors from the trade to Lüneburg. You will find all information about the jubilee and free registration opportunities at: www.eurolaser.com/20years.
Nanoscribe presents a novel high-speed 3D printer, the Photonic Professional GT. It is the world’s fastest commercially available 3D printer for micro and nanostructures. Nanoscribe’s next-generation 3D printer enables very fast and highest-resolution manufacturing of three dimensional micro-objects, which are often smaller than the diameter of a human hair.
The printing speed was increased hundredfold by employing a new laser lithography method, enabling completely new applications.
Speed: minutes turn into seconds
The significant increase of the printing speed was achieved by implementing a galvo mirror system similar to those used in laser show devices or scanning units of CD and DVD drives. Reflecting a laser beam off the rotating galvo mirrors facilitates rapid and precise lateral laser focus positioning.
Space shuttle in minutes
Just for comparison: Using the novel system, the time required for printing a miniature spacecraft was reduced from hours to minutes without any loss in structure quality! The company’s customers will profit tremendously from the extended application range of those product. The GT version of the Photonic Professional will be equipped with a new modular controller, which facilitates the introduction of optional hardware extensions in the future. Various new features have also been integrated into the software. The electronics cabinet has been redesigned for a more elegant and modern appearance.
Mechanism: Two-photon Polymerization
The direct laser writing technique underlying the 3D printing method is based on two-photon polymerization. Just as paper ignites when exposed to sunlight focused through a magnifying glass, ultra-short laser pulses polymerize photosensitive materials in the laser focus. This crosslinking of polymer chains renders the exposed volume insoluble relative to its unexposed environment. After washing away the unexposed material in a developer bath, the exposed regions remain as self-supporting 3D micro- and nanostructures.
Miyachi Europe, the leading supplier of laser and resistance welding systems and laser marking products, will be showcasing its unique laser and resistance solutions at CWIEME Berlin 2014, the world’s largest international coil winding, insulation and electrical manufacturing exhibition, which will take place in Berlin, Germany from June 24-26, 2014, at the Berlin Exhibition Centre, Booth #41E19.
On display will be the unique Miyachi Peco AWS3 – an integrated solution providing process control, monitoring and quality analysis all in one and offering maximum flexibility with its modular components for various applications.
Easy to use and efficient
Pneumatic weld heads and pincers are now also available in addition to the proven servo motorised versions which can be combined with various motor and welding controls. The AWS3 with its bus interface is easy to integrate into existing systems and offers an intuitive multilingual user interface, a status line, a menu bar and an interactive user guide with help functions. This makes the AWS3 an advanced easy to use system. The VNC functionality allows for remote monitoring and control with various PC either on-site or from different locations, which minimizes costs and maximizes uptime. The AWS3 will be displayed with a large touchscreen panel, providing booth attendees an up-close glimpse of real-time dynamic measurement of all welding variables.
Versatile laser on show
The 4th generation of Miyachi Unitek ML-73 D Series fiber laser markers will also be at the booth. Particularly suited for high power and high speed laser marking, laser engraving, laser ablation and laser annealing, the versatile ML-73 D series is designed with multiple integration options to accommodate standalone operation, full production automation, or prototype development. The updated ML-73 D series is a durable, air-cooled, and sealed laser marker for operation even in harsh production environments.