Pattern transfer of sub-micrometre-scaled structures into solid copper by laser embossing
Laser embossing allows the micron and submicron patterning of metal substrates that is of great interest in a wide range of applications. This replication process enables low-cost patterning of metallic materials by non-thermal, high-speed forming which is driven by laser-induced shock waves. In this study the surface topography characteristics as well as the material structure at laser embossing of sub-micrometre gratings into solid copper is presented. The topography of the laser-embossed copper pattern is analysed with atomic force microscopy (AFM) in comparison to the master surface. The height of the embossed structures and the replicated pattern fidelity increases up to a laser fluence of F ∼ 10 J/cm2. For higher laser fluences the height of the embossed structures saturates at 75% of the master pattern height and the shape is adequate to the master. Structural modifications in the copper mono crystals after the laser embossing process were investigated with transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD). Almost no modifications were detected. The residual stress after laser embossing of 32 MPa (F = 30 J/cm2) has only a limited influence on the surface pattern formation.