Laser micromachining by ablation is a well established technique used for the production of 2.5D and 3D features in a
wide variety of materials. The fabrication of stepped, multi-level, structures can be achieved using a number of binary
mask projection techniques using excimer lasers. Alternatively, direct-writing of complex 2.5D features can easily be
achieved with solid-state lasers. Excimer laser ablation using half-tone masks allows almost continuous surface relief
and the generation of features with low surface roughness. We have developed techniques to create large arrays of
repeating micro-optical structures on polymer substrates. Here, we show our recent developments in laser structuring
with the combination of half-tone and binary mask techniques.
Pulsed laser sources are widely used for the micro-processing of materials from the structuring and patterning of surfaces to the direct machining of devices. This paper discusses laser micro-processing techniques for the fabrication of microstructures with high accuracy and precision. Techniques discussed include laser mask projection techniques and direct beam micromachining using galvo-scanners and high precision motion stages, with a variety of different lasers. Examples of the application of these techniques to the manufacture of MEMS and MOEMS devices are discussed.
Materials processing using copper vapor lasers is discussed with particular reference to the manufacture of photonics components. The visible and UV wavelengths available from the copper laser can both be used for efficient micromachining of inherently hard materials, such as ceramic, diamond and metal, as well as in the fabrication of fiber Bragg gratings.