Polymers are widely used in manufacturing for applications such as circuit boards, medical devices, OLED display technology, etc. Traditional mechanical processes tend to result in low yields and frequent retooling.
Laser processing of polymers is well-established. But, for markets that demand higher precision and quality or for thermally sensitive materials, a move to shorter wavelengths has gained wide acceptance in several industries. With the advantage of focussing to much smaller spot sizes than its longer wavelength rivals, a UV laser allows for material removal on much smaller scales over a wide range of materials. Furthermore, UV lasers are readily absorbed by most organic materials. Combined with its shallow absorption depth, it is possible to precisely machine very small volumes with virtually negligible heat affected zones. Thin polymer films can be cut into complex shapes or drilled with exceptional resolution for applications within flexible circuit boards and OLED display technology. Small kerf widths allow for higher precision and resolution whilst delivering much less thermal input to the bulk of the material, resulting in excellent quality cuts. Furthermore, the shorter wavelengths deliver longer Rayleigh lengths which give a bigger depth of focus for improved processing tolerances and can be utilized effectively when cutting non-flat samples, such as tubes.