Microdrilling of metals with an inexpensive and compact ultra-short-pulse fiber amplified microchip laser
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- Ancona, A., Nodop, D., Limpert, J. et al. Appl. Phys. A (2009) 94: 19. doi:10.1007/s00339-008-4906-3
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We have investigated the ultra-fast microdrilling of metals using a compact and cheap fiber amplified passively Q-switched microchip laser. This laser system delivers 100-ps pulses with repetition rates higher than 100 kHz and pulse energies up to 80 μJ. The ablation process has been studied on metals with quite different thermal properties (copper, carbon steel and stainless steel). The dependence of the ablation depth per pulse on the pulse energy follows the same logarithmic scaling laws governing laser ablation with sub-picosecond pulses. Structures ablated with 100-ps laser pulses are accompanied only by a thin layer of melted material. Despite this, results with a high level of precision are obtained when using the laser trepanning technique. This simple and affordable laser system could be a valid alternative to nanosecond laser sources for micromachining applications.