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PR electronic industry. Femtolaser – Micro-drilling and processing with unprecedented precision

The new individual Posalux series has been successfully tested on the market – Femtolaser

Swiss Posalux has been on the market since 1943. Its laser drilling machine has now been expanded to include microtechnology. Drilling at unprecedented precision and speed have become possible.

One femtosecond (1 fs) corresponds to 10-15 seconds, a quadrillionth of a second. A femtosecond, 0.000,000,000,000,001 seconds, is an unimaginably short unit of time for the impulse frequency of laser light emission. The light beam moves approx. 0.3 µm away from the light source during this brief period. This is about a hundredth of a human hair. In a nutshell: a femtosecond laser permits extremely precise work.

Such lasers are mainly used in ophthalmic surgery. Thanks to the combination of a USP (ultrashort pulse) laser and a 5-axis scanner, Posalux now also offers a machine that can produce the smallest hole geometries, e.g. for micro-electronics. Hole geometries are not limited to conventional shapes such as cylinders. Rectangular, conical (positive and negative) or entirely different shapes can be produced as well. Even materials that are usually difficult to machine can be easily handled well with the help of femtolaser technology.

Posalux has introduced a new product to meet the complex market requirements of applications in test electronics: the „probe cards“. The necessary market analyses and development of the first femtolaser customer system took about 18 months. The new Posalux technology already sees increasing use on the Asian market.

In 2017, customers provide quite curious about the technology when it was presented and discussed at trade fairs and conferences in the USA and Asia. The first step fit market needs precisely. The order books filled up well. Several machines are already in production at customer sites, meeting the high demands of mass production. The new system technology has proven its worth in practice perfectly.

The new Posalux machine series can drill micro holes of less than 30 µm for production of high-precision test systems in various industries! Probe cards and test adapters for electronic components, such as BGAs, memory components, complex chip systems or packed complete systems can be produced with optimal support.

The new Posalux machine series can drill micro holes of less than 30 µm for production of high-precision test systems in various industries. Hole geometries are not limited to conventional shapes such as cylinders. Rectangular, conical (positive and negative) or entirely different shapes can be produced as well.
Left- micro holes of less than 30 µm in Si3N4 material
Right- Rectangular holes 25 x 25 um in Si3N4 material

Test needles are guided through a plate substrate in the test heads. They are used to measure the precision contacting. Mechanical drills are not the best solution for their manufacturer, due to increased wear. Mechanical drilling does not permit hole geometries that deviate from the standard geometry in this machining process. The advantage of laser drilling is obvious. Mechanical drills that drill into hard ceramics quickly dull and need to be replaced. Laser drilling uses the power of light, dispensing with a drilling insert that would wear mechanically. Laser pulses are also much easier to control. The intended precision is a lot higher. Complex hole geometries can be implemented with perfect precision and repeated just as accurately.

The extremely short pulse times of the femtolaser prevent thermal effects on the material and reduce quality issues. There is no thermal interaction between the electrons and the particle grid below 500 femtoseconds. The new system has process times that are many times shorter than those of conventional systems. Once, these steps would take weeks. Today, they are finished in mere hours or days, depending on application.

The Posalux system uses a precession head for highly precise control of the laser beam. This enables highly accurate and repeatable results. With a precession head, the beam guidance and drilling strategy are chosen to avoid any damage to the hole edge. In combination with the femtolaser, this leaves zones unaffected by material removal or destruction. The femtolaser used works with pulse lengths below 300 femtoseconds for excellent results.

A high-precision XY table with a total area of 300×300 mm is of great advantage for the accuracy of the femtolaser system. It permits economical machining of several parts on one substrate without re-clamping. Software specially developed by Posalux permits optimal implementation of customer-specific drawing files for processing in the machine. This increases customer productivity and reduces potential error sources. Posalux already supplies solutions for tomorrow’s needs. Its customers are investing in the future.

Once programmed for a plant, any manufacturing process can be repeated at any time. This eliminates the costs for new system settings. The time needed for setup becomes less relevant across the entire product life cycle.

The Posalux system uses a precession head for highly precise control of the laser beam. This enables highly accurate and repeatable results.

The Swiss company has been active on the market for 75 years. It originally hails from the watch industry. Posalux has become established in the printed circuit board industry with highly productive mechanical drilling machines. Later, they offered drilling and eroding machines for the automotive industry in the field of micro-drilling for injection nozzles. The Swiss company also offer SACE, a technology for glass processing in the micro range. In the last few years, the portfolio has been expanded to encompass laser drilling machines with a view to innovation and customer focus. The original target group was the automotive industry. Posalux now also offers femtolaser drilling machines for the electronics industry, not least thanks to the achieved high application know-how. This market segment poses enormous demands. Services, innovations and technologies that add value for the customer are vital today. The company has 100 employees at its headquarters in Biel/Switzerland and its subsidiaries in Taiwan, Korea, Italy, along with a new branch office for sales and service in North America. They follow this goal and supply customers worldwide.

Posalux has invested a lot into its development centre, its employees and the corresponding measurement technology. The company’s motto and customer-focused philosophy calls for competent support on site ensure that only impeccable machines are delivered. Trusting partnerships are necessary for joint development projects and customer-specific solutions.

The niche segment for testing equipment on the semiconductor market has been developed. Future-oriented technology and new positioning strive for a leading position in the industry. „The electronics market itself will continue to grow. Increasing use of electronics throughout all areas of life and the development of new technologies, for example in road traffic leads to a demand for more test equipment. The equipment industry will profit from this general trend.“ Sales manager Christof Kock is certain that the company is on the right track.

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