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Laser bonding is a marking technique that uses lasers to bond an additive marking substance to a substrate.

First invented in the mid 1990s by Paul W. Harrison, the founder of TherMark, LLC, this patent protected and patent pending technology [1] produces permanent marks on metal, glass, ceramic and plastic parts for a diverse range of industrial and artistic applications, ranging from aerospace and medical to the awards and engraving industries. It differs from the more widely known techniques of laser engraving and laser ablation in that it is an additive process, adding material to the substrate surface instead of removing it.

Laser bonding has been achieved by Nd:YAG, CO2 laser, Fiber laser and Diode-pumped solid-state laser and can be accomplished using other forms of radiant energy.

The laser bonding process

Mark quality depends on a variety of factors, including the substrate used, marking speed, laser spot size, beam overlap, materials thickness, and laser parameters. Laser bonding materials may be applied by various methods, including a brush on technique, spraying, pad printing, screen printing, roll coating, tape, and others.

The marking process generally comprises three steps:

1. Application of the marking material.

2. Irradiating the marking material with a laser in the form of the desired mark.

3. Removal of excess, unbonded material.

The resulting marking is permanently bonded to the substrate, and in most cases it is as durable as the substrate itself.[2]
The durability of laser bonded markings

Markings placed on stainless steel are extremely durable and have survived such testing as abrasion resistance, chemical resistance, outdoor exposure, extreme heat, extreme cold, acids, bases and various organic solvents.

Marks on glass have been tested for resistance to acids, bases and scratching.

NASA's International Space Station, or ISS, was home to aluminum squares laser marked with CerMark® marking material for almost four years. These squares were part of the Material International Space Station Experiment, or MISSE.

In this experiment test markings were applied to coupons made of materials commonly used in the construction of the external components used on space transportation vehicles, satellites and space stations. Markings applied using a wide range of different methods and techniques, including laser bonding. The material test coupons were then affixed to spaces provided on test panels, which were then installed onto trays which were attached to the ISS during a space walk conducted during the STS-105 Mission flown on August 10, 2001. The trays were positioned on the ISS so that they could expect to receive the maximum amount of impact damage and exposure to a high degree of atomic oxygen and UV radiation.

The experiment was recovered on July 30, 2005 during STS-114 and returned to earth on August 9, 2005. The markings, DataMatrix two dimensional bar codes, were evaluated and found to be readable and visually looked as good as the day they were placed in orbit.[3]

The laser bonding process is outlined and specified in both military [4] and NASA [5] marking specifications and standards. Laser bonding is also a preferred technique for use in the United States Department of Defense "Item Unique Identification" system (IUID).
See also

Laser engraving
Laser ablation
Laser applications


Patents US 6075223, "High contrast surface marking", US 6238847, "Laser marking method and apparatus", US 6313436, "High contrast surface marking using metal oxides", US 6855910, "High contrast surface marking using mixed organic pigments", EP 1023184, "Laser Marking Method", US 9321130, "Laser Absorbing Compounds", and US 2015344712, "High contrast surface marking using nanoparticle materials".
Paul W. Harrison (July 2006), White Paper: "Product Identification in Automated Manufacturing" (PDF), Los Angeles, CA, retrieved 29 January 2015
Report: "Marking Tests to Certify Part Identification Marking Processes for use in Low Earth Orbit (LEO)", Roxby, D., Siemens Symbology Research Center, 5000 Bradford Drive NW, Suite A, Huntsville, Alabama 35805, Oct. 11, 2005.
MIL-STD 130M DOD Marking Standard, p.24, Table II
NASA HDBK-6003 NASA Marking Handbook, Laser Bonding Section 5.1.5, p.15



List of laser articles List of laser types List of laser applications Laser acronyms

Laser types: Solid-state
Semiconductor Dye Gas
Chemical Excimer Ion Metal Vapor

Laser physics

Active laser medium Amplified spontaneous emission Continuous wave Doppler cooling Laser ablation Laser cooling Laser linewidth Lasing threshold Magneto-optical trap Optical tweezers Population inversion Resolved sideband cooling Ultrashort pulse

Laser optics

Beam expander Beam homogenizer B Integral Chirped pulse amplification Gain-switching Gaussian beam Injection seeder Laser beam profiler M squared Mode-locking Multiple-prism grating laser oscillator Multiphoton intrapulse interference phase scan Optical amplifier Optical cavity Optical isolator Output coupler Q-switching Regenerative amplification

Laser spectroscopy

Cavity ring-down spectroscopy Confocal laser scanning microscopy Laser-based angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy Laser diffraction analysis Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy Laser-induced fluorescence Noise-immune cavity-enhanced optical heterodyne molecular spectroscopy Raman spectroscopy Second-harmonic imaging microscopy Terahertz time-domain spectroscopy Tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy Two-photon excitation microscopy Ultrafast laser spectroscopy

Laser ionization

Above-threshold ionization Atmospheric-pressure laser ionization Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization Resonance-enhanced multiphoton ionization Soft laser desorption Surface-assisted laser desorption/ionization Surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization

Laser fabrication

Laser beam welding Laser bonding Laser converting Laser cutting Laser cutting bridge Laser drilling Laser engraving Laser-hybrid welding Laser peening Multiphoton lithography Pulsed laser deposition Selective laser melting Selective laser sintering

Laser medicine

Computed tomography laser mammography Laser capture microdissection Laser hair removal Laser lithotripsy Laser coagulation Laser surgery Laser thermal keratoplasty LASIK Low-level laser therapy Optical coherence tomography Photorefractive keratectomy Photorejuvenation

Laser fusion

Argus laser Cyclops laser GEKKO XII HiPER ISKRA lasers Janus laser Laboratory for Laser Energetics Laser integration line Laser Mégajoule Long path laser LULI2000 Mercury laser National Ignition Facility Nike laser Nova (laser) Novette laser Shiva laser Trident laser Vulcan laser

Civil applications

3D laser scanner CD DVD Blu-ray Laser lighting display Laser pointer Laser printer Laser tag

Military applications

Advanced Tactical Laser Boeing Laser Avenger Dazzler (weapon) Electrolaser Laser designator Laser guidance Laser-guided bomb Laser guns Laser rangefinder Laser warning receiver Laser weapon LLM01 Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System Tactical High Energy Laser Tactical light ZEUS-HLONS (HMMWV Laser Ordnance Neutralization System)

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