Laser ablation is used for patterning thin films to produce small features or isolate regions within devices. Applications of laser ablation of thin films include Plastic Electronics, OLEDs, Solar, Flat Panel, Organic Electronics etc.
Laser ablation is an ideal process for the production of fine features in materials such as silicon and ITO. A short pulse laser is focused onto the surface to be ablated. The material heats up very rapidly and vaporises to leave a small pit in the surface. By appropriate choice of laser wavelength, pulse duration and pulse energy, the material removal can be restricted to the surface layer e.g. removal of ITO or other TCO materials from a glass substrate.
If the laser beam is then scanned across the surface, a series of spots of material can be removed, one spot for each pulse. By using a high repetition rate laser and an appropriate scan speed, the spots can be made to overlap. Provided the laser only ablates the thin film material and leaves the substrate essentially untouched, a line feature is produced. By overlapping tracks, areas of material can be removed in a very precisely controlled manner.
Hence with the correct choice of laser and process parameters, the laser ablates a fine feature with effectively no damage to the underlying substrate. The laser system can then be used to “write” any desired shape or pattern onto the surface.
In addition to ablating thin films, laser ablation can be used to produce deep features.
To discuss your laser ablation / thin film patterning requirements with an Applications Specialist please contact us.