Methodology of selective metallic thin film ablation from susceptible polymer substrate using pulsed femtosecond laser
Electronic devices on flexible polymeric substrates allow new fields of applications. A maskless and flexible structuring process for such systems is offered by ablation using ultra-short pulse laser irradiation. Hereby, certain areas of a functional thin film coating (e.g. nickel-chromium) are locally removed from a substrate (e.g. polyimide) to yield the needed device structures. Micro laser patterning quality is influenced by the beam properties (beam profile, fluence) as well as by the pulse overlap, the substrate material and many other factors. A clear distinction must be made between the material ablation at the surface of a bulk material and the substrate selective removal of a thin metallic film. For the latter, general rules for the prediction of ablation results especially in the case of areal ablation, which were not known from the literature so far, are derived here in the form of mathematical criteria. A methodology for the parameter finding in different cases of ablation (dot, line, areal) is presented and exemplified using a practical example, but is also applicable to other flexible thin film based systems.
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