The application of a closed thick film flowing filtered water to immerse the ablation etching mechanism of an excimer laser poses interesting possibilities concerning debris control, modification of machined feature topography and modification of the ablation rate. Furthermore, these parameters have been shown to be dependent on flow velocity; hence, offering further user control of machining characteristics. However, the impact of this technique requires investigation. This contribution offers comparison of the calculated ablation pressure and the effect on feature surface characteristics given for laser ablation of bisphenol A polycarbonate using KrF excimer laser radiation in ambient air against laser ablation of the same substrate under closed thick film flowing filtered water immersion. Also, an impact of such immersion equipment on the optical performance of the micromachining centre used is quantified and reviewed. The pressure is calculated to have risen by a magnitude of 48, when using the liquid immersed ablation technique. This increase in pressure is proposed to have an increased surface roughness, promoting the number of asperities with a surface area lower than 16 μm2; resulting in a diffuse reflection of light and an apparent darkening of features. The focal length of the optical system was accurately predicted to increase by 2.958 mm, when using the closed flowing liquid immersion equipment. This equipment is predicted to have increased the optical depth of focus via reduction in the angle of convergence of the two defining image rays; yet the perceived focus, measured discretely by mean feature wall angle, was found to be 25% smaller when using the closed thick film flowing filtered water immersion technique instead of similar laser ablation in ambient air. A compressed plume interaction is proposed as a contributing factor in this change.
- Feature quality
- Liquid immersion
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering