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NEW TECHNOLOGIES | ARTICLE


<< Figure 4: 3D hinge fabricated in glass designed for bending in different directions. Te glass, when micro structured, becomes flexible and can be employed for the fabrication of flexures. >>


The new industrial Femtoprinters reach outstanding precision thanks to the stick-and-slip piezo actuators, which offers resolution and repeatability down to 100 nm in the three spatial directions along with writing speed up to 90 mm/s. So many performances are concentrated in a tabletop machine.


Very interestingly, the same process can be used for machining several materials such as different kind of glass, fused silica, sapphire, borofloat and others, making the technology appealing for different industries going from the biomedical to the watch making industry. Hard materials are preferred for moulding but it is worth noting that even polymers can be treated in the same way possibly opening several new directions. Micro moulding can be used for the cost-effective fabrication of elements such as active or passive components in MEMS devices, hydrophobic surfaces, cell-growth scaffolds or optical components such micro lens arrays and gratings. The 3D capability of the process makes it suitable for the fabrication of micro moulds used for the fabrication of low-cost polymer replicas. The technology is also particularly interesting for examining high-aspect ratio laser- machined structures fabricated in glass material. Thanks to this technique, surfaces not accessible with common imaging techniques can be observed on their moulded negative structure with very high fidelity.


For users who do not have a chemical laboratory, FEMTOPRINT line has also a complete solution for the etching, which is fully independent and doesn’t need any additional infrastructures. The Etching Kit is designed for safe and rapid prototyping. The laser treatment drastically changes the material acid resistance. The etching rate contrast can be as high as 1000, providing high resolution. Because of the excellent selectivity, structures with very small and well-defined edges can be fabricated. Small tolerances are also guaranteed even after the etching process with surface roughness of the order of few hundred of nanometers. This is of interest in particular for the mechanical precision industry and represents one of the main values of the technology.


FEMTOPRINT is also suitable for the fabrication of high aspect ratio micro moulds with almost vertical sidewalls. The writing software compensates the effect of the etching along the depth of the geometry with excellent performances. The same applies to long buried channels and cavities inside the substrate. The FEMTOPRINT technology is also a valuable option for the fabrication of topologically complex 3D shapes fabricated with a single step. For achieving the same result with standard lithographic techniques, several masks would be required, increasing the fabrication time and costs.


FEMTOprint SA www.femtoprint.ch


22 | commercial micro manufacturing international Vol 7 No.3


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