Cutting edge: How lasers shape new possibilities in glass
Glass isn’t as easy to cut as you think, but with CLT tools, shaping glass big and small is a refined process that can advance multiple industries.
What’s more impressive? Going big? Or going small?
Large sheets of glass the size of two king-sized mattresses to cover TV displays? Or glass wafers nearly invisible to the human eye that help computers process information?
The engineers at Corning like to think it’s both. And that’s why it’s crucial that Corning Laser Technologies (CLT) has developed processes to cut many sizes and shapes of glass.
No matter what CLT cuts, dices, or breaks, the glass can enable advancements in multiple industries, including consumer electronics, automotive, life sciences … and basically anything one can dream of. Think: AR devices, mobile consumer electronics devices, auto panels and dashboards, glass wafers for semiconductor applications, smart and functionalized glass for architectural purposes, and more.
But cutting glass isn’t as simple as one may think – cutting glass requires precise lines and meticulous tools to avoid rough edges and material loss.
CLT invented the nanoPerforation process, which uses ultrashort laser pulses, typically in the picosecond range, to make a guideline. A picosecond, for reference, is a casual one trillionth of a second. In a second step, a CO2 laser beam follows the nanoPerforated contour, resulting in a thermo-mechanical stress profile, which, in turn, causes a clean separation along the cutting contour.
And voila! Cut glass. Big glass, small glass, square glass, thick glass, thin glass… any glass can be cut to nearly any geometric shape with nanoPerforation, a process that boasts minimal material loss, minimal surface roughness, and very high uniformity from piece to piece.