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Laser Micromachining of Polyimides

laser polymers
The above pictures show parts with feature size of .004-.008".

Polyimides have found many applications in different industries such as electronics, medical device, aerospace, plus numerous commercial goods.

The unique properties of polyimides, such as high-working temperature, resistance to radiation, low flammability and smoke emission, wear resistance, good dielectric properties, and chemical stability make them top materials of choice for design engineers. Polyimides, such as Kapton, Vespel, Upilex, are available commercially in sheets, film, tube, or rod shapes. Additionally, Cirlex material is black in color and is also available in multiple thickness levels.

Major applications include multilayer thin metal/dielectric “sandwiches” for flexible circuits used in electronics industries, small parts for medical applications including flow devices, drug delivery systems, and masks. High Resolution Laser Processing is based on photodecomposition of the material. It is clean, non-contact without heat affected zones or damage to the material.

laser polymer

Traditional Carbon Dioxide laser
(hole = .020" Dia.)



Decomposition based Laser Micromachining
(hole = .020" Dia.)

The above pictures demonstrate the comparison of machining polyimides for flexcircuits using a traditional Carbon Dioxide laser (left picture; hole = .020" Dia.) and decomposition based Laser Micromachining (right picture; hole = .020" Dia.).

The process is dry and non-contact yielding 100% in part production. There is no heat-affected zone or other damage to the material. The smallest feature that can be produced is .001" in size with an accuracy of placement of .0005" within a 12" square work area.

Additional methods have been developed suitable for other materials: ceramics, metals, semiconductors, composites, multilayer structures, selective removal of one material from another (polymer from metal, gold from ceramic, Si from glass), etc.