, Volume 94, Issue 4, pp 927-932
Date: 05 Sep 2008

Crackless linear through-wafer etching of Pyrex glass using liquid-assisted CO2 laser processing

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Pyrex glass etching is an important technology for the microfluid application to lab-on-a-chip devices, but suffers from very low etching rate and mask-requiring process in conventional HF/BOE wet or plasma dry etching as well as thermal induced crack surface by CO2 laser processing. In this paper, we applied the liquid-assisted laser processing (LALP) method for linear through-wafer deep etching of Pyrex glass without mask materials to obtain a crackless surface at very fast etching rates up to 25 μm/s for a 20 mm long trench. The effect of laser scanning rate and water depth on the etching of the 500 μm thick Pyrex glass immersed in liquid water was investigated. The smooth surface without cracks can be achieved together with the much reduced height of bulge via an appropriate parameter control. A mechanism of thermal stress reduction in water and shear-force-enhanced debris removal is discussed. The quality improvement of glass etching using LALP is due to the cooling effect of the water to reduce the temperature gradient for a crackless surface and natural convection during etching to carry away the debris for diminishing bulge formation.

An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00339-008-4949-5