Modern laser micromachinig has experienced enormous changes within the last 10 years based on new laser sources with high efficiency laser diode pumping and developments of fiber lasers as well as shorter pulsed lasers with high frequencies. Laser micromachining will be used in all industries as engineers learn the advantages of the process and comparing it to well established mechanical machining methods such as EDM, micromolding, electroforming, chemical etching, etc.
Laser Micromachining is a process of choice for the medical industry. The miniaturization of devices for medical implantation, high reliability and accuracy, new materials used in medical devices, and the wide range of applications is what drives the requirements for new processes suitable for laser machining tasks. Laser micromachining in metals and ceramics is a thermal process that shaves small layers of material based on high ejection rates from localized areas within a very short period of time. Laser ablation of polymers has a different mechanism based on photochemical reaction causing the decomposition of organics. The ability to laser micromachine materials has revolutionized machining of the smallest parts with micron level accuracy. There are no limitations in material type (metals-alloys, ceramics, polymers-organics, composites, adhesives, etc.), in shape or form of parts (flat sheet, tubes of any shape, 3-d machining), as well as multilayered materials (removal of one material from another selectively). Another field of machining is to fuse various materials together using the laser beam which is commonly known as laser welding.
Laser Micromachining is for those who must think small and very precise. Whether you laser drill, cut or weld; using Yag and Eximer technologies should be considered as your method of choice for achieving the highest tolerance and precision when producing catheters, implants, filters, flow orifices, microholes, preforms, among others.