Laser Cutting: One of the Most Critical Steps in Micromanufacturing

Laser cutting is ideal for manufacturing and other industrial applications that call for a powerful cutting tool that also performs with a high level of accuracy. As products become smaller, with more functionality, complexity, and tight tolerances, laser cutting and laser machining are often the only methods that can produce the high-precision features these devices require.

Our laser-cutting services are accurate, cost-effective, and create clean cuts that require minimal secondary processing. Virtually any material can be laser-cut with the utmost precision, including ceramics, glass, metals and alloys, polymers, and semiconductors.

Other benefits of laser cutting include:

  • Fast set up and processing. Laser cutting does not require tool changes between cuts and the platform is the same for cutting different shapes.
  • Precision. Features as small as 0.0002 inches (5 microns) can be cut reliably, with no thermal damage.
  • Quality. Laser-cut products show consistent quality, with micron tolerances and high aspect ratios, thanks to high constant speed and automated platforms.
  • Automation. Laser-cutting systems can be operated unattended 24/7, thereby optimizing workflow and reducing operating costs.
  • Speed. Laser-cutting services are faster than traditional mechanical cutting methods, especially for complex geometries, with no tool changeover required.

Laser-Cutting Applications

Achieving optimal laser cutting results depends on matching the proper laser pulse width and wavelength with the material to be processed. The shorter the pulse width, the greater the effectiveness of the cut, with fewer burrs or defects, such as heat-affected zones (HAZ).

Ultrafast lasers, defined as having pulse widths equal to or less than 10 picoseconds (1 ps = 10-12sec), are increasingly popular for cutting. The laser beam strips electrons from the atoms in the material, ionizing the atoms and forcing them to explode out of the bulk material, with virtually no heat transfer. Femtosecond lasers are even faster–with a pulse width that lasts only a few femtoseconds (1 fs = 10-15sec), they produce the least amount of heat damage and are critical for the high-precision manufacturing of medical devices, especially those with microscopic features or are built from special materials.

Laser-cutting applications in the medical device, life sciences, and microelectronics fields include:

  • High-precision removal of material in virtually any shape or pattern
  • Cutting plastic film shapes for medical device components
  • Creating profiles for “balloon” embolic protection devices
  • Cutting catheters to length for cardiovascular life sciences uses
  • Creating window openings for sensors in glucose monitors
  • Trimming diabetic glucose monitor sensors to length
  • Cutting flow cell channels for in-vitro diagnostic tools
  • Shaping components for orthopedic implants
  • Removing metal coatings from polymer-based films
  • Parylene and polyimide removal for catheters and guidewires
  • Micro-texturing 3D-lattice structures on part surfaces
  • Micro-texturing patterns or grooves into the sides of molds

One of the greatest benefits of femtosecond lasers is the reliability and repeatability of the cutting of complex features and patterns, with great accuracy. Features can be a small as a few microns. The lack of burring or redeposited debris reduces or eliminates most post-processing, which saves time and reduces costs. Because it does not generate heat, femtosecond lasering is ideal for cutting thin films and delicate materials.

Highest-Precision Laser Cutting

Whether you need assistance cutting delicate parts to size, creating smoother edges, or cutting intricate shapes and patterns, Laser Light Technologies has the technology and experience to develop the best (and most cost-effective) laser-cutting process for your project.

For more information, or to discuss the best approach to laser cutting for your next project, contact our Client Success Team for an immediate consultation.