Book review: Fundamentals of laser micromachining

Many are asked, some seriously consider, most decline, and a select few accept -- the challenge of writing a textbook on laser materials processing for general readers. It is a tricky proposition: how to write about a very technical subject, without getting mired in certain aspects of the technology that arguably deserve a book on their own. How to craft a comprehensive guide on a laser processing, without delving into the minutiae that explains the various phenomena associated with lasers, laser beams, and the interaction of the beam energy with an assortment of materials? I know whereof I speak -- I accepted the challenge once, producing a book based on a lecture series about Lasers in Production Operations.

In his new book, "Fundamentals of Laser Micromachining," Dr. Ronald D. Schaeffer has put together an outline previously used by many others:

- Laser theory and operation: In about 30 pages he covers enough of the basics to provided at least an understanding of the laser for laymen

- Optics: Here he took on what I think is the most perplexing subject for those trying to understand processing options;

- Light-material interaction: Possibly one of the most important aspects of laser processing;

- System integration: It helps if readers gain knowledge of the equipment they may be using;

- Processing techniques: A primer for the next chapter;

- Applications: The how-to section of the book that may be the most used by readers;

- Materials: Not usually covered in this sort of book, but one that Dr. Schaeffer, as CEO of a laser job shop, feels strongly about; and finally,

- Metrology and Cleaning.

Dr. Schaeffer concludes the book with several pages of problems for the reader with answers that can be found within the book's chapters. One can speculate that these problems are among the many he personally encountered in his years of experience in micromachining

So did this author succeed where others may have faltered? First, a qualifier -- this reviewer is the Editor-in Chief of Industrial Laser Solutions, a magazine for which Dr. Schaeffer serves as an Editorial Advisor and is frequent contributer. And further, over the years he and this reviewer have interacted on materials processing applications on many occasions.

Having said this, I think, based this reviewers several decades of lecturing on industrial laser materials processing, he has put together a very usable guide for those working in the field of microfabrication machining. And I expect the well-edited index will prove to be a frequently used aid to those working in the technology.

Fundamentals of Laser Micromachining
Published: April 12, 2012 by Taylor & Francis - 260 Pages
Author(s): Dr. Ronald D. Schaeffer, PhotoMachining Inc., Pelham, New Hampshire, USA
CRC Press/Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL



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