Use of Fiber
Lasers for Micro Cutting Applications in the Medical Device
International Congress on Applications of Lasers and Electro-Optics,
Scottsdale, October 14-17, 2002 (ICALEO 2002) ISBN 0-912035-72-2
F. Kleine, Laser Group, Guidant Corp., 3200 Lakeside Dr.,
Santa Clara, CA 95054, USA
B. Whitney, Laser Group, Guidant Corp., 3200 Lakeside
Dr., Santa Clara, CA 95054, USA
K. G. Watkins, Laser Group, Department of Engineering,
University of Liverpool, Brownlow Street, Liverpool L69
medical device industry has created a big demand for laser
micro machining. Flashlamp pump solid-state lasers are
currently used for this application. Many of these lasers
are configured to operate near the diffraction limited
beam performance to maintain a very small kerf width.
In order to meet yields and up-time requirements reliable
laser operation and low maintenance are required. Under
production conditions it is a challenge to keep such a
laser system performing with the consistency required.
The fiber laser concept could provide benefits in order
to maintain high up-time and high yields. The single mode
fiber laser does not need mirror alignment. Diode pumped
fiber lasers also reduce maintenance, as flash-lamp changes
are eliminated. The compact air-cooled design also helps
to save expensive clean room space on the production floor.
Recent improvements in average laser power now make the
fiber laser suitable for industrial cutting applications.
The focus for this work is therefore laser micro-cutting
of stainless steel stent implants and this paper presents
the first micro-cutting results in stainless steel. Kerf
width and surface quality on the sidewall are of special
interest. Also presented are laser operating conditions
to minimize Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) in stainless steel.