Effects of closed immersion filtered water flow velocity on the ablation threshold of bisphenol A polycarbonate during excimer laser machining

Colin Dowding, Jonathan Lawrence

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7 Citations (Scopus)


A closed flowing thick film filtered water immersion technique ensures a controlled geometry for both the optical interfaces of the flowing liquid film and allows repeatable control of flow-rate during machining. This has the action of preventing splashing, ensures repeatable machining conditions and allows control of liquid flow velocity. To investigate the impact of this technique on ablation threshold, bisphenol A polycarbonate samples have been machined using KrF excimer laser radiation passing through a medium of filtered water flowing at a number of flow velocities, that are controllable by modifying the liquid flow-rates. An average decrease in ablation threshold of 7.5% when using turbulent flow velocity regime closed thick film filtered water immersed ablation, compared to ablation using a similar beam in ambient air; however, the use of laminar flow velocities resulted in negligible differences between closed flowing thick film filtered water immersion and ambient air. Plotting the recorded threshold fluence achieved with varying flow velocity showed that an optimum flow velocity of 3.00 m/s existed which yielded a minimum ablation threshold of 112 mJ/cm 2 . This is attributed to the distortion of the ablation plume effected by the flowing immersion fluid changing the ablation mechanism: at laminar flow velocities Bremsstrahlung attenuation decreases etch rate, at excessive flow velocities the plume is completely destroyed, removing the effect of plume etching. Laminar flow velocity regime ablation is limited by slow removal of debris causing a non-linear etch rate over 'n' pulses which is a result of debris produced by one pulse remaining suspended over the feature for the next pulse. The impact of closed thick film filtered water immersed ablation is dependant upon beam fluence: high fluence beams achieved greater etch efficiency at high flow velocities as the effect of Bremsstrahlung attenuation is removed by the action of the fluid on the plume; low fluences loose efficiency as the beam makes proportionally large fluence losses at it passes through the chamber window and immersion medium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3705-3713
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Surface Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010


  • Ablation
  • Immersion
  • Liquid
  • Polycarbonate
  • Threshold

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