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Micromanufacturing in Fused Silica via Femtosecond Laser Irradiation Followed by Gas-Phase Chemical Etching

Author(s): Francesco Venturini | Maurizio Sansotera | Rebeca Martinez Vazquez | Roberto Osellame | Giulio Cerullo | Walter Navarrini

Journal: Micromachines
ISSN 2072-666X

Volume: 3;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 604;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: laser micromachining | FLICE | silicon dioxide | selective etching | anhydrous hydrogen fluoride

Femtosecond laser irradiation followed by chemical etching (FLICE) with hydrogen fluoride (HF) is an emerging technique for the fabrication of directly buried, three-dimensional microfluidic channels in silica. The procedure, as described in literature, consists of irradiating a silica slab followed by chemical etching using hydrogen fluoride. With aqueous HF the etching process is diffusion-limited and is self-terminating, leading to maximum microchannel lengths of about 1.5 mm, while the use of low-pressure gaseous HF etchant can quickly produce 3 mm long channels with an aspect ratio (Length/Diameter) higher than 25. By utilizing this methodology the aspect ratio is not constant, but depends on the length of the channel. When the microchannel is short the aspect ratio increases quickly until it reaches a maximum length at around 1400 µm. Thereafter the aspect ratio starts to decrease slowly. In this paper we present a variation of the low-pressure gaseous HF etching method, which is based on the dynamic displacement of the etchant. This method results in a 13% increase in the aspect ratio (L/D = 29) at the expense of a low etching speed (4 µm/min).
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