Laser Micromachining

”Since 1982, Potomac Photonics has been setting the standard for Laser Micromachining Services.”

Rapid Turnaround Laser Micromachining Services for Prototyping and Production Projects

Potomac Photonics offers a broad range of cost-effective and highly repeatable laser micromachining capabilities that are available for applications ranging from prototyping through production manufacturing. With a variety of laser sources from deep UV excimer to Nd:YAG lasers, we can micromachine most materials (eg. polymers, metals, ceramic, glass).  Our Engineers will choose the most appropriate laser system to micromachine your parts, based on feature sizes, tolerances, volume, and material.

  • 193nm
  • 248nm
  • 266nm
  • 355nm
  • 532nm
  • 1064nm
  • 10600nm

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We are continually developing new laser micromachining capabilities and have been recognized by many of our customers for developing processes to manufacture their parts where others have fallen short.  Our laser micromachining systems are equipped with some of the most cutting edge optics configurations, motion systems and parts handling fixtures in the world.  We take pride in pushing the limits of laser micromachining technology from a process, quality and cost perspective.

In addition to laser micromachining parts, we have successfully developed applications for the fabrication of molds and fixtures that require small features and tight tolerances  For example, we can laser micromachine a mold for Hot Embossing applications typically in less than a day.

For more information about Micromachining please see:

Kapton, Cirlex, PEEK, Polystyrene, PMMA, Polycarbonate, PTFE, Mylar and more.

  • Type of polymer being micromachined and its absorption spectrum are critical in determining the optimal laser source to use.
  • Typically, matching the low transmission point of a given material to the corresponding laser wavelength yields the most favorable results.
  • UV Lasers produce “cooler” excitation in polymers which results in an extremely clean cut quality with a minimal Heat Affected Zone (HAZ)
  • Key considerations when choosing the appropriate laser source include, desired cut quality, feature size and throughput.
  • There is a wide spectrum of process parameters that can be optimized in order to meet quality and cost targets.  For example, shorter laser pulses can improve cut quality and reduce the Heat Affected Zone.
  • The smallest feature size achievable with a UV laser source is about 1 micron.
  • Potomac stocks many types of polymers in Dupont Kapton (polyimide), Mylar (PET), PEEK, Polycarbonate and others,
  • Potomac has almost every laser wavelength in-house, including UV systems at 193nm, 248nm and 355nm.

Stainless Steel, Copper, Nitinol, Tantalum, Gold, Aluminum and other metal materials.

  • Type of metal being micromachined, reflectivity of material, and feature size desired are the most critical factors in determining optimal laser source to use.
  • The laser beam is absorbed into the surface of the material, and the energy of the laser is converted to heat which vaporizes or melts the metal material.
  • A gas or fluid assist is often utilized to improve the cut quality, expel molten metal, and minimize the Heat Affect Zone (HAZ).
  • IR lasers are typically the first choice to laser micromachine metals from a quality and cost perspective.
  • When features less than 10 microns are required, the UV laser may be a good alternative to the IR, assuming  the metal thickness is less than 0.003″
  • Intricate and complex features can be cut on both flat and tubular metal substrates utilizing high precision multi-axis motion systems.
  • Potomac has experience laser micromachining almost every type of metal material including stainless steel, aluminum, copper, titanium, gold, silver and others.

Our laser micromachining systems are driven by CAD to FAB technology and do not require costly masks or tooling options.  All that is needed to get started is a drawing to get started.

Laser micromachining can be a very cost-effective way to manufacture custom parts in both prototype and production volumes.  Call us today to discuss your next project.  Lead times can be as fast as 24 hours in some cases.

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