Shaping the future with
Laser machining: Selective Laser-Induced Etching
LouwersHanique is continuously developing the latest technologies for the processing of high-end brittle materials such as synthetic quartz, sapphire, and silicon carbide. After strategic collaboration with LightFAB UG, SLE (Selective Laser-Induced Etching) was added to the LouwersHanique portfolio.
Unique and top-of-the-range technology
Highly complex microstructures are produced with the aid of the unique SLE technology in combination with various joining, processing and integration processes. Moreover, all this directly from a 3D CAD file. The SLE concept was originally developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT) and can be applied to borosilicate glass, synthetic quartz, sapphire, and ruby, among others. The industrialization takes place in close collaboration with LightFab.
LouwersHanique combines SLE technology with, among others:
- direct glass-glass joining technology
- cleanroom grade cleaning and packaging
- full, advanced characterization and qualification, including white light interferometry and profilometry
- ISO9001 certified World Class Manufacturing process assurance
With this, LouwersHanique supplies complete, ready-to-integrate (plug & play) solutions.
Typical applications are, among others:
- Compact 2D and 3D monolithic microfluidics structures including channel structures in the bulk of the material
- Microfluidic flow cells with very accurately controlled channel dimensions and an unprecedented freedom in shaping
- Micro-machined filters, mixing structures and dividers
- 3D micromechanical and movable structures
- Micro-parts from glass and sapphire, among others
- Complex monolithic structures that cannot be realized through traditional technology
Complex transparent components
With the aid of SLE, it is the first time that complex transparent components and structures can be achieved with dimensions and accuracies within the micron range. The transparency of the materials enables optical inspections, both during production and application. An example would be optical sensors (e.g. micro-optics and microsensors).
Properties of transparent materials
The materials mostly used for SLE are borosilicate glass, synthetic quartz (fused silica) and sapphire. These materials offer a broad range of mechanical, chemical and optical properties:
- High-quality mechanical properties including high compressive load ability and wear resistance
- High chemical resistance which results in a compatibility with a wide spectrum of highly demanding chemical processes
- Optical transparency is the high transmission in a broad wavelength spectrum which is ideal for many types of optical sensors and microfluidics applications
- Dielectric properties which include a high breakdown voltage and compatibility with a broad spectrum of electromagnetic radiation