A necessary step in the fabrication of many different flat panel display types is the selective removal of a thin layer of indium tin oxide (ITO) or other transparent conductor from the substrate to create circuit patterns. The conventional method of performing this patterning utilizes photolithography. Specifically, an image of the desired pattern is projected on to a photoresist coated substrate, and this substrate is then developed and etched with wet chemicals. However, it is possible to use a laser to directly ablate ITO without damaging the substrate, and thus eliminate all the expense, time and environmental concerns associated with a multi-step wet chemical process. First generation laser based systems for ITO patterning were too slow to be competitive with traditional means, however, laser manufacturers are focused on developing sources that enable the required process speed, and also possess desirable characteristics in
terms of lifetime, maintenance downtime, and overall cost-of ownership. This paper examines the requirements for an optimum laser source to service this emerging laser application.