By Raymax Lasers

Microstructures is a category that includes laser machining of small components creating features less than 200 microns. The process used to create the features is known as non-thermal photo ablation. The some of the common process applications are:

  • Film Drilling
  • Precision Holes
  • Laser Skiving
  • Ceramics
  • Insulation Materials
  • Wire Stripping
  • Micro-marking
  • Micro-joining

An optomechanical beam delivery module for UV micromachining – Just add photons!

LightDeck is available as an OEM module in manual LD-MAN or motorised LD-AUTO versions and forms the heart of the MicroMaster workstation, to which some details below may specifically refer.

Energy - Fine Control

Manual AT4030 or motorized AT4020 give precise control over beam energy from minimum to maximum in 1% steps.


Common mask options include:

  • UMH a simple Universal Mask holder with two manual degrees of freedom
  • LIN-50 a linear motorized selector
  • 40-P a 40 motif motorized selector
  • MA15P family adjustable apertures, including MVA.

When the LIN-50 mask selector is used in combination with the MVA(motorized variable aperture), an infinite number of combination motifs can be created and stored in PC memory as 'virtual' masks for later recall.

I/O - Interface Panel

All the services to and from the LightDeck are regrouped for convenience on a single interface panel.


A 2-D spirit level embedded in the LightDeck structure ensures easy alignment.

Optics - P & M Axes

The 'P' axis provides focus control of the process lens.
The 'M' axis provides demagnification control from mask to part.
Both axes have front panel position readout, and are under ProcessPower control in LD-AUTO or MicroMaster systems.

Control - Absolute Resettability

The optics positions that determine demagnification (feature size) and focus (Z-axis) are permanently monitored by optical encoders with front panel readout. Any previous setting can be precisely returned to, at will. The LD-AUTO option and MicroMaster incorporate motorised optics mounts and ProcessPower software to take the guesswork out of processing, providing the user with functions such as auto-demag, select, focus search, 3-D processing at constant demag, automatic stepped parameter arrays, etc.

OA Vision - Off-Axis Camera

Off-axis camera providing general part viewing from an off-axis position, without loss of focus or image distortion.

Lens - Three-Element High-Performance UV Lens

Three-element UV process lens with 1.5 µm resolution and TTL vision capability.

Part - Ease of Use

In the LightDeck, the part is the centre of activity. It is surrounded by two camera systems, four independent light sources for optimum contrast from a wide range of samples, and provision for orientable shield gas and fume extraction; all controlled by flexible ProcessPower software for the MicroMaster and custom systems.

Part fixturing options include:

  • Flat part 200mm octagonal vacuum chuck
  • Combination fixture, with 120 mm round vacuum chuck, plus lathe-type Phi axis for cylindrical parts

Motion - Part Positioning

For the MicroMaster, X,Y stages with 200 mm travel and 1


resolution are mounted on the same Hi-stab frame as the optical beam delivery unit. A theta stage with 0-360


rotation is available as an option. All stages are controlled by ProcessPower software.

When used free-standing, LightDeck is either integrated with 50 x 50 mm XY stages, or positioned to straddle user stages or part handling.

Base - Mechanical Stability

LightDeck construction is a aluminium-cored honeycomb structure on a cast, ribbed aluminium base, supported by three adjustable leveling feet.

In the MicroMaster, the LightDeck is mounted with positioning equipment on a custom made Hi-Stab synthetic granite frame'.

TTL Vision - Through-the-Lens Camera

Optec designed confocal three-element process lens, with 1.5 µm image resolution and TTL vision over the whole demag. range, ensures that when the part is in focus on the CCTV monitor, the UV is automatically in focus, with the machining area highlighted. WYSIWYG - What You See Is What You Get.

Highlight - Mask Highlighting

The selected machining motif appears as a highlit area on the part prior to actual ablation. Uses the WYSIWYG feature of the confocal projection lens.

Rail - Beam Forming

A flexible rail section allows the use to configure the system and mask illumination as required. Options include beam expanders, condensers shapers & splitters, and well as simple beam scanning devices.

Easy optics changes are possible thanks to single-screw, keyed optics mounts, available at different wavelengths. Parameters linking optical performance of a particular lens to optics encoder positions at given wavelength, etc., are stored in a calibration file for the lens and can be recalled at any time.