LightFab to introduce selective laser etching to US market

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PhotoMachining (Pelham, NH) and LightFab (Aachen, Germany) have begun a collaborative effort to promote selective laser etching (SLE) using femtosecond lasers in the US market.  

"The USP (ultrashort-pulse) laser market is maturing and moving fast," says Dr. Ronald Schaeffer, CEO of PhotoMachining. "Because of the unique nature of very short-pulse light, it is possible to do things such as SLE, which cannot be done with longer pulse lengths."  

"3D precision-glass parts can be used in many markets and we see especially large potentials in the US market; e.g., in electronics and medical," says LightFab managing partner Jürgen Ortmann. "Together with PhotoMachining, we hope to find new customers for our prize-winning LightFab 3D printer, and to enable the exploitation of the benefits of the SLE technology also for those customers searching for a domestic source of 3D precision glass parts."

The SLE process involves exposing hard brittle and otherwise transparent materials like quartz and fused silica to USP laser light and then chemically etching the exposed area away, where etching selectivity after laser exposure is enhanced over a thousand times. This method can be used to make 3D precision parts by essentially 3D printing the pattern inside the bulk of the material. It is expected to play a great future role in things like microfluidics.

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