200 μm Magnifcation 3. 15 × Magnifcation 1. 1× 200 μm
Laser processing enables
YIELD HIGH-VOLUME PRODUCTION
At least every two years, when their contracts expire, consum- ers expect to find exciting, new smartphone models that are faster, lighter, and more attractive thantheiroldmobiledevices—and ideally ones thatcostless, too. For
product designers and engineers, the relentless pace of innovation
and ever-rising consumer expectations mean that they must continually explore new manufacturing technologies and processes
that improve flexibility, speed, and reliability, as
well as lower costs and ensure fast turnaround.
These trends are leading smartphone
designers and manufacturers to the micromachining sector of lasers and the laser-based
equipment industry. Laser-based systems
provide unique capabilities in applications
such as drilling, wafer scribing/dicing, material ablation, and surface patterning, which
are well suited to high-volume mobile device
production. They offer production efficiency
and processing quality well beyond limita-
tions imposed by mechanical and chemical
alternatives. In many cases, they are the only
practical option for implementing a particular
Laser-based micromachining systems
consist of multiple, precisely coordinated
subsystems. The laser engine usually is the
main cost driver of the overall system price,
and can be attributed to a majority of sys-
tem instabilities and failures. A thorough test
of the laser’s capabilities is a very important
prerequisite for high-performance laser machining systems.
Given the demands of modern mobile device manufactur-
ing, simply integrating a laser and a beam scanner is no longer
sufficient. Sophisticated beam shaping and steering compo-
nents are required to extend capabilities beyond what is offered
by basic beams. Multi-component beam shapers, splitters,
combiners, acoustic optical modulators and deflectors (AOMs
and AODs), diffractive optical elements (DOEs), spatial phase
modulators, and the combinations of these make it possible to
control the size, timing, and location of incoming laser beams.
From a process perspective, a keen understanding of laser-ma-
terial interaction is crucial to effective management of thermal,
plasma, and debris effects to achieve high-quality, high-through-
put micromachining. Key technology competencies include beam
delivery, system design, system stability, software, control, auto-
mation, and a deep understanding of laser-material interactions.
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the applications
where laser micromachining will play an expanded role in
mobile device manufacturing.
FIGURE 1. Glass machining with various technologies: Laser singulation of
strengthened glass with CO2, nanosecond, and picosecond lasers, respectively (a),
and a 10mm hole and 0.7 × 10mm slot cut in high-strength glass (b).