Programmable diffractive optic for multi-beam processing: Applications and limitations
In the field of laser ablation, especially in the field of micro-structuring, the current challenge is the improvement of productivity. While many applications, e.g. surface fictionalization and structuring, drilling and thin film ablation, use relatively low pulse energies, industrial laser sources provide considerably higher average powers and pulse energies. The main challenge consist of the effective energy distribution and depositions. There are essential two complementary approaches for the up-scaling of (ultra) short pulse laser processes: Higher repetition frequency or higher pulse energies. Using lasers with high repetition rates in the MHz region can cause thermal issues like overheating, melt production and low ablation quality. In this paper we pursuit the second approach by using diffractive optics for parallel processing. We will discuss, which technologies can be used and which applications will benefit from the multi-beam approach and which increase in productivity can be expected. Additionally we will show, which quality attributes can be used to rate the performance of a diffractive optic and and which limitations and restrictions this technology has.