www.industrial-lasers.com JULY/AUGUST 2017 Industrial Laser Solutions 5
not have microcracks or sub-surface defects that cause failure in cases of mechanical load. This makes applications in
the field of flexure bearings possible.
The current state of the technology in fused silica is that
first-time-right machining is possible for complex 3D parts
<7mm in height with a precision of about 10μm and a maximum tunnel length of 10mm. Larger precision or longer tunnel
lengths are feasible, but often make iterations of production
and measurements necessary before the part fits the preci-
SLE has been demonstrated as a manufacturing technology
for fused-silica parts used in various fields of technology with
many different applications—not only for prototypes, but also
for series production of devices and structures.
Coupling chips for capillary electrophoresis have been produced (FIGURE 2) in a hexagonal glass part measuring 15mm
in diameter, which allows plugging capillaries together with-
out a detectable dead-volume for use in chemical analytics.
A light-actuated cell sorter for quicker antibiotic resistance
tests with complex 3D microchannels (FIGURE 3) with 34 × 12 ×
2mm chip dimensions is useful in biomedical technology and
production of food and detergents. New types of 3D nozzles
find application in various markets, such as for fuel injection
or even inhalers that help with pulmonary diseases. A hollow-cone spray nozzle—for example, producing a spin to the
spray—makes a more stable combustion (FIGURE 4) with a 2m
height and 60µm nozzle diameter possible.
Many ultraprecise micro-sized holes, not necessarily cir-
cular in shape, can be drilled into thin glasses or sapphire for
semiconductor or electronics applications, such as thin glass
vias (TGVs) or holes in display glasses. Hole fields with 2500
150µm-diameter holes, with some having pitches down to
10µm with standard diameter deviations <0.5µm, are possi-
ble (FIGURE 5).
Monolithic MEMS devices can clamp an optical fiber with a
flexure bearing or act as a sensor for inertia. Flexures can be
cut as thin as 10–20µm that still feature good mechanical stability because no surface or subsurface damages or remaining
stresses are induced into the material. FIGURE 6 shows a precision
cut from a 1mm fused-silica wafer with a flexure width of 30µm.
Complex 3D precision parts are enabled by the fast LightFab
3D Printer together with an innovative CAD/CAM/NC software
chain for digital production, including adaptive slicing and
variable filling strategies. The further increase of the precision
FIGURE 3. A light-actuated cell sorter for quicker antibiotic
resistance tests with complex 3D microchannels.
FIGURE 2. A hexagonal glass part measuring 15mm in
FIGURE 4. A hollow-cone spray nozzle makes a more stable