Ultrafast z-scanning for high-efficiency laser micro-machining

Ting Hsuan Chen, Romain Fardel, Craig B. Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


High-throughput laser micro-machining demands precise control of the laser beam position to achieve optimal efficiency, but existing methods can be both time-consuming and cost-prohibitive. In this paper, we demonstrate a new high-throughput micro-machining technique based on rapidly scanning the laser focal point along the optical axis using an acoustically driven variable focal length lens. Our results show that this scanning method enables higher machining rates over a range of defocus distances and that the effect becomes more significant as the laser energy is increased. In a specific example of silicon, we achieve a nearly threefold increase in the machining rate, while maintaining sharp side walls and a small spot size. This method has great potential for improving the micro-machining efficiency of conventional systems and also opens the door to applying laser machining to workpieces with uneven topography that have been traditionally difficult to process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17181
Number of pages1
JournalLight: Science and Applications
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


  • TAG lens
  • high-efficiency micro-machining
  • laser material processing
  • ultrafast z-scanning


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