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Laser drilling techniques and applications


Laser drilling, Laser material processing, helical drilling, trepanning drilling, percussion drilling, single pulse drilling, laser drilling applications, laser drilling techniques, laser drilling methods – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Laser drilling techniques and applications

Laser drilling and its applications
  • Laser material processing

Hamed Tasalloti Kashani
  • Laser drilling
  • A hole-making technique that utilises a focused
    laser beam at power densities sufficient to melt
    and vaporize the material
  • Main features
  • Non-contact and therefore wear-free drilling
  • High flexibility
  • Possibility for automatization
  • High speed
  • Small achievable diameters (less than 100µm)
  • Usability
  • Can be used for a wide range of materials
  • Steels and different metallic alloys
  • High-strength materials, ceramics,
    semiconductors, carbon compounds, composites,
    diamond, or plastics

  • Applications
  • electronics, computers, communication products
  • automotive parts
  • aerospace industry
  • drilling high quantity of closely spaced holes
    required for effusion cooling in turbine engine
  • holes in surgical tooling
  • inkjet nozzles etc.
  • Challenges
  • Spatter Elimination
  • Precise cross-section shape
  • Repeatability
  • holes in surgical tooling
  • Reduction or control of taper

Different drilling techniques
Schematic of drilling techniques
Single-pulse drilling
  • The hole is drilled with the radiation of a
    single laser pulse
  • NdYAG laser systems are generally used as the
    beam source
  • Single pulse durations in the microsecond to
  • Intensities I gt1MW/cm2
  • Hole depths of up to 2mm is possible to be
  • Hole diameters of about 10500µm are achievable.
  • Above 100 holes per second can be produced
  • Is the most productive methods and is used when a
    large number of holes have to be drilled.
  • Most of the material is expelled out from the
    hole as melt.

Schematic of single-pulse laser drilling
Influence of process parameters
  • The hole diameter and the attainable drilling
    depths are highly dependent on beam quality
  • The dependence on beam quality is greater at
    lower pulse energies
  • With other identical parameters, higher beam
    quality results in greater drilling depths and
    smaller hole diameters
  • Higher beam quality, results smaller variations
    in geometry from hole to hole.

Application examples
Surgical needle
Micro-holes in fuel filter for the automotive
Percussion Drilling
  • Is a pulsed process, in which material is removed
    with consecutive pulses of laser radiation.
  • This enables a higher aspect ratio to be achieved
    than with single-pulse drilling (approx. 501
    compared with 201).
  • Hole diameters typically can range from 100 µm
    to 1 mm,
  • drilling depth of 20mm can be achieved.
  • The pulse duration, intensity distribution, and
    temporal pulse shape have a significant influence
    on the quality of the drilled hole

Percussion Drilling
  • It is often difficult to produce repeatable holes
    with laser percussion drilling
  • The absorption of laser radiation at a closure by
    solidified melt can result in local expansion of
    the drill hole (lateral convection) and thus a
    reduced reproducibility of the drill-hole

Variation of geometry for holes drilled under the
same conditions.( NdYAG laser, The workpiece
material used was EN3 mild steel)
Influence of process gases
  • Depending on the type of material involved,
    different process gases are used
  • Oxygen precipitates chemical reactions that
    increases temperature during the drilling process
    and cause oxidization of the material on the
    drill-hole wall
  • Nitrogen can be used to nitrate the material
  • argon is used to prevent unwanted chemical
    reactions during the process
  • with oxygen, the occurring spatter is just 1020
    as densely as with compressed air, nitrogen, or
  • The exothermal reaction of oxygen with the molten
    material over heats the melt and cause it to be
    expelled in greater quantities in the form of
    droplets, and to turbulently solidify.
  • When the process gas is argon, the melt has a
    higher cooling rate and solidifies in multiple

  • Tool and die making
  • Medical engineering
  • Automotive engineering
  • Aviation
  • Cooling holes in the turbine blades
  • Holes in filters
  • Nozzles for ink-jet printers
  • Feed through holes for solar cells
  • etc.

Micro-filter 2000 drill holes. Material
aluminium, 15µm drilling depth
Transparent metal 6.5105 drill holes with
diameters between 10 and 30µm spaced 60µm apart
a) print heads for ink-jet printer, material
Vacrel. b) print-head nozzle drilled by KrF
laser, 248 nm
  • Trepanning is a combined cutting and drilling
  • Typically performed using a pulsed laser
  • By percussion drilling a through hole is first
    pierced and then the through hole is widened to
    its final diameter in a circular cutting motion
  • The duration of each pulse ranges from ns to the
    ms range
  • depending on the material, the thickness of the
    workpiece, and the demanded quality of the drill
  • Typical drill-hole diameters are 0.151 mm
  • The melt is expelled through the exit area of
    the joint or drill hole, with a process gas
    flowing coaxially to the laser beam

Schematic of the trepanning process
Process gas pressure
  • During trepanning, the thickness of the melt
    depends on the process gas pressure
  • The melt formed during trepanning closes the
    holes again at low process gas up to10 bar
  • In order to blow out the melt from the bottom,
    the process gas pressure has to be larger than 14
  • The higher pressure is required for the deeper
    trepanning kerf, to remove the melt from the hole
  • with argon as process gas, a pressure higher
    than16 bar is necessary to maintain a sufficient
    melt ejection rate

  • power-generation and turbine engineering
  • The automotive industry
  • and tool-making

(a) Vent holes in a mould for disks (b)
longitudinal section of a vent hole
Helical drilling
  • Pulsed laser radiation is used in the nano- to
    picoseconds range
  • Only a very small volume of material is removed
    by each pulse
  • Relative movement takes place between the
    workpiece and the laser beam.
  • The spin of the laser beam on the helical path
  • The rotation of the laser beam in itself (proper
  • Proper rotation
  • To compensate for a non-circular beam profile
  • Makes it possible to produce small drill holes
    with a diameter in the range of the beam
  • Full perforation only can obtain after multiple
  • Changing the geometry of the drill hole can be
    achieved by changing the angle of incidence and
    the workpiece and the point of impact

Helical drilling
Diagram of helical drilling (a). Branding marks
at low laser output on the surface of the
workpiece illustrates the rotating motion (b)
Types of drill holes that can be produced by
helical drilling
Main characteristics
  • Helical drilling provides the greatest precision
    of all currently known laser drilling techniques
  • The roundness of the drill hole
  • The sharpness of the edges at the entrance and
    exit of the drill hole
  • Decreased surface roughness
  • Thinner recast layer of solidified melt
  • The wall of the drill hole is more homogeneous

Helical Drilling Optic
Principles of laser beam rotation
New drilling approaches
  • Underwater laser drilling
  • In recent years, micro-channels drilling in water
    with femtosecond laser have been investigated
  • It has great potential in many applications
    especially for brittle materials
  • The method could improve the efficient of debris
  • water carries away the debris generated in the
    drilling process, thus reducing the pileup around
    the hole.
  • Reduces heat accumulation at the edges of the
  • The cooling effect of water can reduce the size
    of the heat-affected zone

New drilling approaches
Configuration of the underwater laser drilling
Interaction between laser, water, and glass
New drilling approaches
  • Anti-spatter composite coating(ASCC)
  • The method is based on the application of a
    specifically developed anti spatter composite
    coating (ASCC) on the workpiece surface before
    laser percussion drilling.
  • This coating contains a mixture of ceramic filler
    particles embedded in a silicone elastomer matrix
  • ASCC effectively prevents the deposition of
    spatter for all the tested assist gases (O2, air,
    N2 and Ar)

New drilling approaches
Optical micrographs of laser drilled array holes
(2 mm hole pitch) in uncoated(left) and coated
(right) Nimonic 263 alloy using (a) O2, (b) air,
(c) N2 and (d) Ar assist gases. Fibre-optic
delivered 400 W NdYAG .Percussion drilling
Laser drilling technique Typical usage Pulse duration Description
Single-pulse drilling Large number of holes with diameters 1mm and depths 3mm In the range of 100µs to 20ms The hole is drilled with the radiation of a single laser pulse. NdYAG laser systems are generally used as the beam source for single-pulse drilling
Percussion drilling Holes with diameters 1mm and depths up to 20 mm From fs to ms is a pulsed process, in which material is removed with consecutive pulses of laser radiation and enables a higher aspect ratio to be achieved than with single-pulse drilling. The machined holes differ in quality regarding recast layer, aspect ratio, conicity, or cracks in the recast layer and the base material
Trepanning Typical drill-hole diameters are 0.151 mm In the range of µs to ms Is a combined drilling and cutting process typically applied with pulsed laser radiation. Free-form holes with different shapes and contours on the hole entrance and the hole exit is possible
Helical drilling Positive and negative taper with minimum diameters of 40 µm In the nanosecond range Laser radiation is rotated relative to the workpiece. Drilling process is dominated by vaporization. This helps to avoid the formation of a large melt pool at the hole bottom. The helical drilled holes are very precise and exhibit a good microstructure quality
Thank You !