Diode laser processing of PMMA and LCP materials for microsystem packaging
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The thesis describes the development of laser-assisted bonding methods for assembly of microfluidic devices and MEMS packaging. A laser microwelding technique for assembly of transparent polymer substrates for fabrication of microfluidic devices was studied. The transparent PMMA substrates were bonded together using a high power diode laser system with a broad top-hat beam profile and an intermediate titanium thin film consisting of 0.7 mm diameter spots. A tensile strength of 6 MPa was achieved for this novel method which is comparable to that of the previous work in laser welding of polymers. It has been demonstrated that the method is capable of leak free encapsulation of a microfluidic channel. Furthermore, a novel laser-based method using an LCP film for packaging of MEMS, sensors and other microelectronic devices has been investigated. The results show that it is possible to use a laser based method with an LCP polymer for high quality substrate bonding applications. Glass-glass based cavities allow optical transmission and have potential applications for optical sensors and other photonic devices. For glass-glass bonding, it was shown that thin film titanium material can be used as an effective optical absorber in the laser based LCP bonding technique. Laser bonding of glass and silicon using an LCP film has also been achieved but in this case the silicon substrate acted as the absorber to capture the laser power. Laser bonding of a silicon cap to a molded LCP package has also been demonstrated successfully. The results of temperature monitoring using embedded sensors show that the temperature at the base of the LCP package (~130C) is substantially lower than the bonding temperature (> 280C). The results of shear and leak test show good reliability and hermeticity of the laser bonded microcavities. Both two-dimensional and three-dimensional models of heat transfer are developed and studied using the COMSOL Multiphysics software tool to understand the localised laser heating effects. The results are in good agreement with those of the practical work.