Excimer laser drilling of polymers  

Y. H. Chena, H. Y. Zhenga, K. S. Wonga , and S. C. Tamb  
(a) Gintic Institute of Manufacturing Manufacturing
71 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 638075  
(b)  School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
Nanyang Technological University
Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798  

Laser micro-drilling technology plays a more and more important role in industry, especially in the fabrication of multi-layer electronic packages. In such applications, non-metals are often used as insulators, in which via holes are formed to provide vertical interconnections for densely packed three dimensional wiring networks. Mechanical punch tools have been the primary means to form holes in ceramic sheets and in polymer boards since the 1970's. As the cost of fabricating punch heads increases drastically and the demand for quick turn around part build becomes more routine, flexible via forming technologies, such as laser drilling, have become more prevalent. In laser drilling, CO2, Nd:YAG, and excimer lasers are often used. Their drilling capabilities, drilling mechanisms, and hole qualities are different because of the different laser beam characteristics such as wavelength and beam energy distribution. In this paper, the mechanisms of laser drilling are briefly reviewed. The results of the experiments on excimer laser drilling of two types of polymer: polyimide and polyethylene terephthalate, are reported. It is found that the etch rate increases with increase of fluence, and the wall angle of drilled holes is dependent on the fluence. The material removal by a laser pulse is highly controllable. There exists an optimal fluence range to obtain clean and smooth edges of quality holes for a given material at a given laser wavelength.

Keywords: excimer laser, laser drilling, laser etching, laser micro-machining, polymers.

Full paper in PDF

Reprinted from Proc. of SPIE, Vol. 3184 (1997), 202-210

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