A one-step laser etching process proves advantageous for the microfabrication of optics, electromechanical systems, and fluidics. Utilizing a laser-absorbing fluid against the back side of virtually any solid, transparent material, any of a number of lasers can perform micro-etching of 1 millimicron to 10 millimicrons. Etching can employ two or more lasers on transparent plates, cylinders, rods, films, vessels, or blocks. The resulting etched design may resemble hatching, a grid array, a bubble array, or any special design.
This process uses any of a variety of low-energy laser beams, and any of a variety of organic solvent solutions to induce highly controllable micro-etching at ambient room temperature and pressure. A myriad of trench widths and depths are achievable in addition to the etching of patterns through the use of templates, masks, or stencils. The process is resist-free; provides clean, well-defined edges; and retains the integrity of the base material. It requires no vacuum and offers flexibility in choice of lasers and solvents.
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