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29 June 2001 Polymer microsystems by excimer laser ablation: from rapid prototyping to large-number fabrication
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Excimer laser ablation of polymers is demonstrated to be a well suited technology for cost effective fabrication of prototypes of polymer microstructures in relatively short times. Prototyping is realized by ArF excimer laser ablation (193 nm) using mask projection techniques in combination with high precision sample movement as well as mask movement. Different techniques and their restrictions in structural diversity are illustrated by examples from micro-optics, like fiber switches and waveguide couplers. Microparts the functionality of which has been proven by prototypes can be fabricated in large numbers by the Laser-LIGA technique. For the Laser-LIGA process a master structure is generated in PMMA that is coated onto a titanium wafer, using the same CNC data as for rapid prototyping without additional expenditure. From the PMMA master a mould insert of Ni or Cu can be generated by electroforming that allows time and cost effective mass fabrication via hot embossing or injection moulding if the required part numbers are large. Advantages and disadvantages of the laser ablation prototyping technique compared to other rapid prototyping methods are discussed and the Laser-LIGA technique is compared to the standard LIGA process using deep X-ray lithography.
© (2001) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Thomas Klotzbuecher, Torsten Braune, Susanne Sigloch, Jens Hossfeld, Michel Neumeier, Hans-Dieter Bauer, and Wolfgang Ehrfeld "Polymer microsystems by excimer laser ablation: from rapid prototyping to large-number fabrication", Proc. SPIE 4274, Laser Applications in Microelectronic and Optoelectronic Manufacturing VI, (29 June 2001);

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