The Laser MicroJet® Technology
The Fusion of Water and Light
For the first time ever, it is possible to combine the advantages of both water and laser cutting in one operation. Utilizing the difference in the refractive indices of air and water, the technology behind Laser MicroJet® creates a laser beam that is completely reflected at the air-water interface.
The laser is, therefore, entirely contained within the water jet as a cylindrical beam, similar in principle to an optical fiber.
This lack of deviation is maintained through and beyond the work piece, facilitating the accurate cutting of porous or layered materials, all with minimal thermal and structural distortion, leaving a fine cut edge.
The water jet guided laser therefore combines the low-temperature and large working distance advantages of high-pressure water jet cutting with the precision and speed of conventional laser cutting.
As a result, the Laser MicroJet has a remarkably wide range of applications and has established itself amongst other well-known cutting methods including dry lasers, diamond saws, EDM, stamping, water jet cutting and etching.
A Simple Principle
The Laser MicroJet is a hybrid method of machining, which combines a laser with a transparent water jet that precisely guides the laser beam by means of total internal reflection in a manner similar to conventional optical fibers. The low-pressure water jet continually cools the cutting zone and efficiently removes debris.
As a “cold, clean and consistent laser”, Synova's LMJ technology resolves the significant problems associated with dry lasers such as thermal damage, contamination, deformation, deposition, oxidation, micro-cracks and lack of accuracy.
Comparison of Conventional and MicroJet Laser Beams
The conventional focused laser beam has a limited working distance of just a few millimetres to even fractions of a millimetre due to beam divergence. This not only makes precise focusing and distance control necessary, it limits the ratio of kerf width to depth.
The LMJ technology employs a laser beam that is completely reflected at the air-water interface. The beam can be guided over a distance of up to 10 cm, enabling parallel high aspect ratio kerfs. No focusing or distance control is required.