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Laser-Enhanced Chemical Etching Via Localized Melting

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000049452D
Original Publication Date: 1982-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-09
Document File: 1 page(s) / 12K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Hodgson, RT: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

In the past it has been shown that localized laser action can enhance etching without employing a mask. The laser is used to heat the workpiece to be etched locally, which results in increased chemical kinetics and mass transport in that region.

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Laser-Enhanced Chemical Etching Via Localized Melting

In the past it has been shown that localized laser action can enhance etching without employing a mask. The laser is used to heat the workpiece to be etched locally, which results in increased chemical kinetics and mass transport in that region.

The present method permits exceedingly rapid chemical etching, particularly of substances that are good thermal insulators such as ceramics, using a laser (or any focused energy source) to provide local heating of the workpiece. What distinguishes the present laser enhanced etching from previously described methods is that the laser is now used to soften or even locally melt the material being etched.

When the molten or softened material comes in contact with the strong etchant, extremely rapid etch rates result. Since the effect is highly nonlinear, very local patterns can be etched with micron sized dimensions.

For example, etching of a TiC/Al(2) O(3) sintered material occurs in an 18 molar solution of KOH in conjunction with a focused 1 W laser (argon ion multimode). Etch rates as high as 100 microns/second have been measured. We have etched holes and slots in the aforementioned ceramic with aspect ratios greater than three. Slots, 50 microns in width, 4 mm in length and 100 microns deep, have been etched by scanning the workpiece under the laser for a scan time of 2 minutes. Without the chemical etchant but with the same laser power density incident on the workpiec...