CO2 laser processing of alumina (Al2O3) printed circuit board substrates

Colin J. Moorhouse, Francisco Villarreal, Jozef J. Wendland, Howard J. Baker, Denis R. Hall, Duncan P. Hand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


We report the results of an investigation of the laser-material interaction processes involved in laser drilling of alumina, through the use of an enhanced peak power (2.5 kW) CO2 laser and novel temporal pulse formats. Peak power was varied from 30 W to 2 kW for pulses of constant energy to observe the effect produced on scribe depth. High-speed videography of hole formation has been combined with microscopic analysis to investigate the key processes involved in laser processing of alumina. Plasma screening was observed for short, high peak power laser pulses, and optimal scribing was achieved in the weakly plasma absorbing regime. A new processing technique for scribing alumina has been developed, which exploits the fast response of the laser to produce novel temporal pulse shapes, which can be modified to generate cleaner holes. Scribe speeds of up to 280 mm · s-1 were obtained for scribe holes > 200 µm deep and 150 µm apart, with no material plugging the hole, in 0.635-mm-thick 96% alumina. © 2005 IEEE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-258
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Electronics Packaging Manufacturing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005


  • Alumina laser processing
  • Enhanced peak power CO 2 laser
  • High-speed videography
  • Melt ejection
  • Plasma screening


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