Applied Surface Science, Vol.253, No.10, 4740-4747, 2007
Femtosecond laser patterning of Ta0.1W0.9Ox/ITO thin film stack
Selective laser patterning of thin films in a multilayered structure is an emerging technology for process development and fabrication of optoelectronics and microelectronics devices. In this work, femtosecond laser patterning of electrochromic Ta0.1W0.9Ox film coated on ITO glass has been studied to understand the selective removal mechanism and to determine the optimal parameters for patterning process. A 775 nm Ti:sapphire laser with a pulse duration of 150 fs operating at 1 kHz was used to irradiate the thin film stacks with variations in process parameters such as laser fluence, feedrate and numerical aperture of objective lens. The surface morphologies of the laser irradiated regions have been examined using a scanning electron microscopy and an optical surface profiler. Morphological analysis indicates that the mechanism responsible for the removal of Ta0.1W0.9Ox thin films from the ITO glass is a combination of blistering and explosive fracture induced by abrupt thermal expansion. Although the pattern quality is divided into partial removal, complete removal, and ITO film damage, the ITO film surface is slightly melted even at the complete removal condition. Optimal process window, which results in complete removal of Ta0.1W0.9Ox thin film without ablation damage in the ITO layer, have been established. From this study, it is found that focusing lens with longer focal length is preferable for damage-free pattern generation and shorter machining time. Crown Copyright (c) 2006 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.