Because millimeter- or micrometer-sized optoelectronic components are typically too fragile for traditional “pick and place” contact methods, new noncontact or “lase and place” methods have been developed at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (Washington, D.C.) that use laser pulses to release components from a carrier substrate. Optics mounted above the carrier focus laser pulses onto a laser-transparent carrier substrate with an intermediate sacrificial polymer layer, melting the polymer and ejecting the part onto the circuit board or other surface below.
To achieve the required precision between the receiving position and the firing of the laser pulse, the “lase and place” system depends on advanced motion-control technology from Aerotech (Pittsburgh, PA) that not only supplies a position-synchronized output pulse timed to the laser with nanosecond-level latency, but also uses a direct-drive gimbal system for sharp direction reversals with zero motion hysteresis and backlash. The Aerotech approach, in contrast to rotary worm-and-gear actuation, enables high processing speeds and more-complex motion paths. Contact Stephen McLane at [email protected].