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Laser Micromachining of Ceramic Materials

Pattern of Gold Conductor removed from PZT wafer, .004" feature size, .004" diameter holes through .010" thick PZT wafer, magnification 70x

Ceramic materials are found in multiple applications in industries. Unique properties of ceramics, such as dielectric strength, thermal and chemical stability, mechanical properties and hardness, make them the material of choice for design engineers.

The need for smaller and smaller high precision parts drives the technology development to apply laser micromachining to ceramic materials. Small features can be micromachined onto ceramics without heat affected zones or microcracking while producing good edge quality.

Basic applications for laser micromachining applied to ceramic materials include producing small holes and/or slots of any shape through wafers, cutting out (singulation) of devices from wafers, and machining conductive coatings on the surface (selective machining) without any damage to the ceramic body.

The following microscope pictures show examples of Laser Micromachining applied to ceramic materials:

laser cutting flex circuits medical micromachining example
.020" OD washer made from PZT ceramic. The concentricity is less than .0002". There is no heat damage to piezo properties or conductive electrodes. .001" wide slot in an Alumina wafer .010" thick. Slotting of poled PZT ceramic coated with Gold or Silver is possible for up to .025" thick substrates.
.004" diameter holes spaced .007" apart for high density interconnects. The gold-plated alumina wafer does not show any damage to the coating. A pattern of .001" wide grooves
micromachined in WC cone.
A device cut from a larger wafer with
a .004" hole in the center.
Slots in .005" thick alumina, .005" wall in
between; magnification 100x