A laser drill system is added in the HPCAT sample preparation laboratory

HPCAT Laser Drill System
HPCAT Laser Drill System

A laser drill system has been recently constructed and made operational for routine use at HPCAT since February 2014. The new drill system uses a pulsed laser of 400ps pulse duration, ablating materials without thermal melting, thus leaving a clear edge after drilling. With optics designed for a tight focus, the drill machine can drill any size holes of larger than 3 microns in diameter. The capability of drilling small holes in gaskets is important for ultrahigh pressure experiments. Unlike standard EDM drill machine, the new laser drill system allows drilling non-conductive materials such as amorphous boron and silicon carbide gaskets, diamond, oxides and many other materials including organic materials (e.g. kapton). The machine can also be used for sample cutting and for making engineered sample environments (e.g. cutting insulation plates critical for laser-heating experiments). The system is easy to operate, fully remote-controlled, enclosed as a Class-I laser for safe operation, and has a precise alignment system operated by a user friendly interface. (Key contributors: Stanislav Sinogeikin, Rostislav Hrubiak and Eric Rod)