SBIR Phase I: Micro Laser Assisted Machining

Period of Performance: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Micro Laser Assisted Machining Technologies, LLC
4950 West Dickman Road, Suite B-5
Battle Creek, MI 49037
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will demonstrate proof of concept and determine the feasibility of a micro-laser assisted machining (micro-LAM) process that will both reduce the time, cost, and effort, and extend the capability, associated with machining of hard and brittle semiconductors and ceramics. The proposed research is unique, and the research team is well-qualified to perform the feasibility research around this innovative process, which couples a laser to a diamond cutting tool in a hybrid package arrangement to perform precision machining of semiconductors and engineered ceramics. Experiments will be conducted, based upon a bench scale laboratory configuration, to test and evaluate the micro-LAM process and system for feasibility in an industrial setting on industrial processing equipment. Tool wear, machined material surface finish and subsurface damage data, as a function of laser and process parameters, will be evaluated relative to the potential for the micro-LAM process to be developed into a successful commercial product. The overall result of this project will be a cost-effective method for the production of useful and commercially viable consumer and industrial products manufactured from advanced semiconductors and engineered ceramics. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will occur in semiconductor (micro-electronic) manufacturing, and for manufacturing of optical (mirror and windows) and precision mechanical products (e.g. bearings and seals), where the superior properties of advanced semiconductor and engineered ceramic materials are required to achieve the desired performance. The micro-LAM technology offers a new way to realize the high pressures and temperatures that are needed for processing these hard and nominally brittle materials. This technology will enable entirely new capabilities for production of materials and products currently not viable or achievable due to processing or use limitations. The new method has potential applications to emerging technologies, such as wind turbines and plug-in electric vehicles, where high-power and high-temperature operation of advanced devices is required. The served available market that includes machine tools for diamond turning, milling, and drilling is approximately $4.5 billion. The micro-LAM technology will initially target existing (~10,000 units) and new ($150 million/year) diamond turning machines as an add-on accessory.