RPMC Lasers, Inc. offers a wide selection of solid state picosecond lasers. These micromachining lasers are suitable for a variety of functions, including scientific, industrial, medical, and military applications. Most of our picosecond lasers are available with 532nm, 355, and 266nm capability options with up to 200W of average power and rep rates from single shot to 2MHz. Additionally, we also supply compact, air- cooled units.
Picosecond lasers are lasers that emit a pulse width between 999ps to 1ps. A picosecond is a million millionth of a second...or 10 -12 second. Typically, to be consider an ultrafast laser, the pulse duration of the laser needs to be 10ps or less. At a given pulse energy, the peak power of the laser increases as the pulse width gets shorter. Therefore picosecond lasers have much higher peak power than longer pulsed nanosecond, or millisecond pulsed lasers. These higher peak powers results in higher removal rates in a given material due to the fact that more of the total energy is transferred to the material and less is transferred into the heating of the material. The high peak powers of these picosecond lasers, often several MW, creates a breakdown between the electrons and atoms in the material, creating what is known as a Coulomb explosion. A Coulomb explosion is a cold processing alternative to the conventional thermal ablation utilized by longer pulsed lasers. In contrast, Ablation is a thermal process that relies on local heating, melting, and vaporization of molecules and atoms....which can be detrimental to some laser applications .
Picosecond lasers can utilize either a passively q-switched or an actively q-switched seed laser. These seed sources can either be in the form or a free-space laser or a fiber laser. That seed source is then amplified through one or multiple amplification stages; depending on the output power requirements. Repetition rates for picosecond lasers range from single shot to several MHz.
The primary application for picosecond lasers is micromachining. Typically these applications require short picosecond pulses for their cold-ablation affects. Picosecond lasers are an ideal tool for applications where micro-cracks, heat affected zone (or HAZ), and recast, are detrimental to the integrity or lifetime of the material being processed. A growing application for picosecond lasers is in the field of handheld electronics...more specifically cell phones and tablets. Manufactures are increasingly experimenting with different materials, like Gorilla glass, in order to make their products more robust. The popularity of ultrafast picosecond lasers in these challenging industrial applications that require cold ablation continues to grow as these consumer electronic markets expand.
Our picosecond, micromachining lasers can be applied to a variety of industrial processes, including cold ablation, semiconductor processing, stent cutting, laser marking, TFT repair, thin film patterning, marking, dicing, scribing, solar cell cutting and edge isolation, laser deposition, surface patterning, nonlinear optics, microscopy, photoacoustics, spectroscopy, processing volatile materials, and machining hard materials. Additionally, picosecond lasers are used for various medical procedures within the ophthalmological and dermatological fields. These units also provide certain military functions, including range-finding, SWIR imaging, and LADAR/LIDAR. No matter your application needs, we can provide custom, picosecond laser solutions to match your exact project requirements.
Through its manufacturers, RPMC Lasers, Inc. provides picosecond application lab services. Experienced personnel run experiments with picosecond lasers at various wavelengths in machining systems with x-y-z stages, galvo beam steering and vision control for precise positioning of the work piece. Sophisticated diagnostic tools are accessible. Please describe your task, your performance criteria, and send your material sample! Lasers are attractive manufacturing tools because they offer precision, speed and versatility, software controlled processes, and non-touch technology without force to the work piece and wear of the tool.
Picosecond laser pulses achieve this new quality of micromachining because the short pulses with their high peak power density remove the material before thermal diffusion with undesirable side effects occur. If a picosecond laser pulse is appropriately focused onto any material surface it will remove a material layer of the order of 10 nm in a basically non-thermal process. The remaining material will not be heated; it will not develop micro cracks, burrs, or recast. Appropriately means that the energy density in the focus of a picosecond laser pulse (~10 ps) is close above the threshold (typically in the order of 1 J/cm2) for this cold ablation process.
Picosecond lasers microstructure (groove, cut, drill, micromill, etc.) virtually any material with:
- no thermal side-effects such as microcracks, burrs, or recast
- lateral features as small as a few um
- depth control in the order of 10 nm
- pulses-on-demand for easy integration into delivery systems
Examples for industrial picosecond laser micromachining can include:
- drilling small apertures or structures (for electrical, bio-medical or fluidic devices) into difficult machinable materials
- micro-milling tiny moulds
- structuring the surface of engine cylinder walls or turbines for lower friction
- edge deletion
- machining thermally sensitive materials (layers on semiconductor or solar components, or stents made of memory material with pharmaceutical coatings, organic lasers in electronics etc.) - thin film processing
- rounding hard metal tool edges for better cutting quality and longer life
- cutting or repairing masks for processes in the semiconductor, display or OLED technology
- structuring solar cells - photovoltaics
- making or repairing of lithographic masks
- fuse blowing for memory repair etc.
We offer a limited applications lab service where we will quick-shoot a sample for you with a picosecond laser, often times at no cost, assuming it appears reasonable to do that. Generally, metal samples should be 1 mm or thinner. If you call, or email us describing your needs, we can generally give you some guidance right away from history. If we do the free test, we will have the lab drill a few holes, make a few cuts, etc., so that you can learn the removal rate and see first hand the kind of quality (no heat affected zone, etc.) we can provide with a ps-laser. In this first-blush test, to keep the costs down, we will not especially concern ourselves with taper and other such issues.
We can demonstrate feasibility, check potential throughput, develop production strategies and support the design of manufacturing tools and help to find the best system maker for your application.
If you wish to send us such a sample, be sure to send along with it the proper instructions for the apps lab manager. This should include advice on what wavelength, rep rate, spot size, energy, beam quality, etc., has worked on the material, and an explanation or drawing of what a successful test will be. That is, if you want only a micron or even just a nanometer of material removed, you need to tell us that.
We are not pretending that a quick test will end with a definitive answer. It surely will not. Whatever results we achieve will be something that can be enhanced considerably with the proper process engineering studies to find the right gas assist, the right nozzles, the right rep rate, energy level, etc. As you likely can appreciate, this takes considerable time in the lab. If further development time is required after the initial test we can certainly help. For such an effort our standard day rate would apply.
For applications truely requiring a pulse <1ps, please click here to access or Femtosecond laser offerings.