Laser ablation cleaning focuses laser energy onto a surface to vaporize the contaminant. The laser also can vaporize a thin liquid layer that in turn carries off the contaminants, especially particles. This process can remove submicron particles and thin fluid films from semiconductor components and can strip paint from aircraft.
Laser ablation is a very new cleaning technique. It is somewhat expensive both in time and equipment. However, it may be a good choice for assemblies that are damaged by other methods.
The process produces no waste except the removed contaminant.
Safety precautions include preventing people from looking into the laser and venting any harmful contaminants.
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Research Triangle Institute
15 March 1995