In-plane laser forming for high precision alignment

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Laser microforming is extensively used to align components with submicrometer accuracy, often after assembly. While laser-bending sheet metal is the most common laser-forming mechanism, the in-plane upsetting mechanism is preferred when a high actuator stiffness is required. A three-bridge planar actuator made out of Invar 36 sheet was used to characterize this mechanism by experiments, finite element method modeling, and a fast-reduced model. The predictions of the thermal models agree well with the temperature measurements, while the final simulated displacement after 15 pulses deviates up to a factor of 2 from the measurement, using standard isotropic hardening models. Furthermore, it was found from the experiments and models that a small bridge width and a large bridge thickness are beneficial to decrease the sensitivity to disturbances in the process. The experiments have shown a step size as small as 0.1  μm , but with a spread of 20%. This spread is attributed to scattering in surface morphology, which affects the absorbed laser power. To decrease the spread and increase the positioning accuracy, an adapted closed-loop learning algorithm is proposed. Simulations using the reduced model showed that 78% of the alignment trials were within the required accuracy of ±0.1  μm .
Original languageEnglish
Article number126105
Pages (from-to)126105-
JournalOptical engineering
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • METIS-307176
  • IR-93212

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