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A Fast and Flexible Industrial Process for Sub-Micron Accuracy Adjustment of Micro-Parts Using Laser Irradiation


Objectives and content

In the industrial production of electrical, optical, and micro-mechanical components, progress in miniaturisation requires improved adjusting techniques. Sub-micrometer accuracy adjustment must be obtained within a second, and the accuracy should be stable over many years. All methods that are presently applied for manipulation in sub-micron dimensions are cumbersome, time-consuming, and tedious, and require very expensive equipment. Automated micro-manufacturing technologies for mass production should be developed in order to make Europe competitive with low-wage countries, and in order to assemble components where tolerance conditions and accessibility are beyond human capability.

In research, a novel method has been found in which permanent deformations of thin metal sheets are obtained by using thermo-mechanical stresses that occur when the sheets are locally heated using short, intense, laser pulses. The aim of the Consortium is to develop this method as a fast and flexible industrial process for sub-micron accuracy manipulation of metal micro-parts. The target is to achieve sub-micron accuracy within a few seconds. This can be applied to a range of products, such as:

- TV electron guns, automotive lamps (adjustment inside the glass enclosure) - computer peripherals (hard disk drives, CD-ROM, etc.)
- fibre-couplings for the telecommunication industry
- audio and video heads
- optical components and complex lens systems (wafer steppers, photo-copiers, etc.). The method is applicable in every sector of industrial production where cheap and fast (sub-)micron accuracy must be obtained.

To obtain the desired accuracy in an industrial production process, closed-loop control of the laser irradiation procedure is essential. This is achieved by:

- computer modelling of the thermo-mechanical mechanisms
- high-speed inspection systems
- fast adaption of the laser-irradiation sequence
- advanced closed-loop control-systems. To account for specific requirements for the manufacture of dedicated micro-parts, novel nano-phased materials will be synthesised and investigated.

An industrial set-up for closed-loop laser-adjustment will be developed and demonstrated. From the knowledge obtained in the project, it will be possible to integrate the laser-manipulation process into industrial production lines within a time frame of 2 years after the project.

Call for proposal

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Nederlandse Philips Bedrijven BV
5600 MD Eindhoven

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EU contribution
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Participants (9)