High repetition rate femtosecond laser nano-machining of thin films
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Thin film laser micromachining has been utilized for repairing semiconductor masks, creating solar cells and fabricating MEMS devices. A unique high repetition rate femtosecond fiber laser system capable of variable repetition rates from 200 KHz to 25 MHz along with helium gas assist was used to study the effect of pulse repetition rate and pulse energy on femtosecond laser machining of gold-coated silicon wafer. It was seen that high repetition rates lead to smaller craters with uniform line width. Craters created at 13 MHz pulse repetition rate with 2.042 J/cm2 beam energy fluence measured 110 nm in width and had a heat affected zone of 0.79 μm. It was found that pulse repetition rate only played a significant role in the size of the heat affected zone in the lower pulse energy ranges. In the future, a 1 W laser system will be acquired to find the optimal repetition rate that would create the minimal feature size with the least heat affected zone. Using this kind of setup along with techniques such as radial polarization and a different gas assist may enable us to create sub 100 nm feature size with good quality.
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