Micro-machining of diamond, sapphire and fused silica glass using a pulsed nano-second Nd:YVO4 laser

David Waugh, Christopher Dale Walton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)
    71 Downloads (Pure)


    Optically transparent materials are being found in an ever-increasing array of technological applications within industries, such as automotive and communications. These industries are beginning to realize the importance of implementing surface engineering techniques to enhance the surface properties of materials. On account of the importance of surface engineering, this paper details the use of a relatively inexpensive diode-pumped solid state (DPSS) Nd:YVO 4 laser to modify the surfaces of fused silica glass, diamond, and sapphire on a micrometre scale. Using threshold fluence analysis, it was identified that, for this particular laser system, the threshold fluence for diamond and sapphire ranged between 10 Jcm −2 and 35 Jcm −2 for a laser wavelength of 355 nm, dependent on the cumulative effects arising from the number of incident pulses. Through optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy, it was found that the quality of processing resulting from the Nd:YVO 4 laser varied with each of the materials. For fused silica glass, considerable cracking and deformation occurred. For sapphire, good quality features were produced, albeit with the formation of debris, indicating the requirement for post-processing to remove the observed debris. The diamond material gave rise to the best quality results, with extremely well defined micrometre features and minimal debris formation, comparative to alternative techniques such as femtosecond laser surface engineering.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)169-183
    Number of pages15
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2021

    Bibliographical note

    This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited


    • sapphire
    • fused silica glass
    • Micromachining
    • laser surface engineering
    • optically transparent materials
    • threshold fluence
    • diamond;


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