Advanced Techniques: Laser Direct-Write Patterning and Laser Ablation

MicroConnex helped to pioneer laser direct-write processes for rapid fabrication of fine-scale flex circuits and MEMS devices down to a 10 μm feature size. For advanced products, research projects, and limited production runs, our laser direct-write and laser ablation services are unmatched in the industry, enabling a broad range of unique architectures and designs.

What is laser direct-write processing?

In general, laser direct-write processing is any technique that creates a pattern on a surface or volume in a serial or “spot-by-spot” fashion. This is in contrast to other patterning approaches that require masking or preexisting patterns, such as photolithography, stamping, or directed self-assembly. Laser direct-write patterning requires only a CAD drawing; no hard or soft lithography tools are required.

Laser direct-write processing allows tight registration of very small, high resolution features and enables definition of structures that are either impossible or too costly to pattern using traditional approaches, like film-based photolithography. In electronics applications, laser direct-write processing can use typical flex materials to form high aspect ratio structures and other MEMS architectures in a range of polymeric designs.

Laser Direct-Write Fabrication and Laser Ablation Services

MicroConnex has processes to deliver the following:

  • Positive direct-write. We can direct-write a circuit pattern by selectively cross-linking photosensitive resist materials. Resolution of circuit patterns to 25 μm trace and space is routine with our laser imaging system.
  • Etch resist ablation. We can direct-write a negative of a circuit pattern in a resist layer.
    High throughput negative pattern ablation. We direct-pattern base layer metals on polymer substrates down to 50 μm.
  • High throughput negative pattern ablation. We direct-pattern base layer metals on polymer substrates down to 50 μm.
  • Combined laser direct-write processing and photolithography. We reduce laser throughput times by using direct-write methods only where required and taking advantage of conventional methods for larger scale circuit features.

By collaborating with our laser partners, ESI and IPG, we are combining custom laser-control software with advanced beam shaping to develop more direct-write processes for specialized applications.


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