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Micro Laser Assisted Machining Device, Micro-LAM



Product: Micro Laser Assisted Machining Device, Micro-LAM

Development Stage: Pilot Scale

Primary Inventors: John Patten, PhD, Manufacturing Engineering Department

Scientific Publication: Ravindra et al., Precision Engineering, 2012, 36, pp. 364-367

License Status: Sub-license Available

Patent Status: Published, WO/2007/040528; US WES019 P308; 8,933,366

Reference: 2005-007

Contact: Clark Bennett PhD
dclark.bennett@wmich.edu
269-387-8218

Download PDF



     Laser-assisted machining (LAM) hard, brittle materials, such as semiconductors and ceramics, utilizes a laser to heat an area to soften it before it is machined. The rest of the work piece is not exposed to the laser, sparing it from permanent heat damage. Pre-heating the area to be machined significantly reduces fracturing during the machining process. Because this method limits the softening effect of the material to the area to be machined and does not heat the entire work piece, it has gained wide acceptance.
     Application of laser radiation in advance of a machining tool makes the LAM apparatus large, complicated, and expensive to run.  A large laser source and a significant amount of power (kW) are required to produce the very high temperatures needed to cause localized heating and deformation (i.e.–thermal softening) of semiconductors and ceramics and other brittle materials.

Technology Description
     The Micro-LAM apparatus and process developed by Dr. Patten addresses many of the shortcomings of conventional LAM. The Micro-LAM device machines semiconductor and ceramic materials by simultaneously heating and deforming the microscopic area of the material that is in contact with the machining tool tip.
     Under extremely high pressures occurring at the contact interface between the machining tool tip and work piece, the material undergoes a high pressure, phase transformation (HPPT). Laser energy is simultaneously applied to the interface and amplifies the HPPT by heating the material at the contact point. Because HPPT materials have a different crystal structure and are opaque, they absorb laser radiation of specific wavelengths (IR), while the rest of the work piece remains transparent and transmits the laser energy. This results in very selective heating and softening of the HPPT area, while the bulk of the material is unaffected. A diamond tip is used for the machining tool tip, allowing for exact machining, transmission of the laser energy through the tip and for focusing the energy on the HPPT material.
     Compared to a conventional LAM apparatus, the Micro- LAM device has reduced tool wear, minimizing down time, and is smaller and more energy efficient. Because of simultaneous application of heat and pressure, the material is machined quickly and smoothly, significantly decreasing production time and cost, and increasing finished product precision.

Potential Benefits
  • Greater machining precision
  • Faster machining times
  • Reduced tool wear
  • Reduced down time
  • Energy efficient machining
  • Improved product quality

Micro Laser Assisted Machining Device, Micro-LAM


     Laser-assisted machining (LAM) hard, brittle materials, such as semiconductors and ceramics, utilizes a laser to heat an area to soften it before it is machined. The rest of the work piece is not exposed to the laser, sparing it from permanent heat damage. Pre-heating the area to be machined significantly reduces fracturing during the machining process. Because this method limits the softening effect of the material to the area to be machined and does not heat the entire work piece, it has gained wide acceptance.
     Application of laser radiation in advance of a machining tool makes the LAM apparatus large, complicated, and expensive to run.  A large laser source and a significant amount of power (kW) are required to produce the very high temperatures needed to cause localized heating and deformation (i.e.–thermal softening) of semiconductors and ceramics and other brittle materials.

Technology Description
     The Micro-LAM apparatus and process developed by Dr. Patten addresses many of the shortcomings of conventional LAM. The Micro-LAM device machines semiconductor and ceramic materials by simultaneously heating and deforming the microscopic area of the material that is in contact with the machining tool tip.
     Under extremely high pressures occurring at the contact interface between the machining tool tip and work piece, the material undergoes a high pressure, phase transformation (HPPT). Laser energy is simultaneously applied to the interface and amplifies the HPPT by heating the material at the contact point. Because HPPT materials have a different crystal structure and are opaque, they absorb laser radiation of specific wavelengths (IR), while the rest of the work piece remains transparent and transmits the laser energy. This results in very selective heating and softening of the HPPT area, while the bulk of the material is unaffected. A diamond tip is used for the machining tool tip, allowing for exact machining, transmission of the laser energy through the tip and for focusing the energy on the HPPT material.
     Compared to a conventional LAM apparatus, the Micro- LAM device has reduced tool wear, minimizing down time, and is smaller and more energy efficient. Because of simultaneous application of heat and pressure, the material is machined quickly and smoothly, significantly decreasing production time and cost, and increasing finished product precision.

Potential Benefits
  • Greater machining precision
  • Faster machining times
  • Reduced tool wear
  • Reduced down time
  • Energy efficient machining
  • Improved product quality

Product: Micro Laser Assisted Machining Device, Micro-LAM

Development Stage: Pilot Scale

Primary Inventors: John Patten, PhD, Manufacturing Engineering Department

Scientific Publication: Ravindra et al., Precision Engineering, 2012, 36, pp. 364-367

License Status: Sub-license Available

Patent Status: Published, WO/2007/040528; US WES019 P308; 8,933,366

Reference: 2005-007

Contact: Clark Bennett PhD
dclark.bennett@wmich.edu
269-387-8218

Download PDF