Glass Micromachining Services

Need something small machined from glass?

Translume has years of experience fabricating custom-designed parts out of fused silica glass. If you’re looking for high precision machining of fused silica, don’t look any further. We will provide you with the best glass micromachining solution, as we have done so for the past 15+ years for hundreds of extremely satisfied customers.

Translume offers a quick turn-around service to micromachine fused silica.   We specialize in fabricated small parts (maximum dimension 8”) with great accuracy (micron-range). We fabricate all types of devices from silica glass, including glass-MEMS (Yes! We can fabricate MEMS made of fused silica!).

If you are looking for a truly collaborative partner to guide you through your next project, Translume will provide you with peace of mind. Typical production ranges from single-unit prototypes to large production runs (thousands of units). Turn-over time for small custom jobs is typically a few weeks. We are a Michigan based company, and all of our manufacturing is done on-site in our Ann Arbor, Michigan facility.

Fused silica micromachining capabilities

Over the last decade Translume has developed direct-write means to locally modify the fine structure of fused silica, using ultrafast lasers to change its material behavior, and to create specific properties (not present in the bulk material) in well-defined three-dimensional (i.e. non-planar) zones.

We have developed several machining processes based on this unique tool:

  1. Our femtoWrite™ process is used to locally change the index of refraction of fused silica. We use this process to create sub-surface waveguides, GRIN lenses, etc.
  2. Our femtoEtch™ process is used to “cut” complex three-dimensional structures. We use our direct-write platform to delineate a path or surface. Using the proper laser parameters, the chemical affinity of the glass along this path or surface is drastically changed. We use this property to selectively remove material (carried out in steps after the laser treatment is completed), creating complex three-dimensional mechanical structures.

Note that we never sand-blast or laser ablate the fused silica, as this would introduce micro-cracks (and some not so micro!) in the material; rather we laser “activate” the silica glass and then chemically etch away the laser-activated material.

This core technology is complemented by other processes, such as thermal bonding.

Glass is a brittle material and tends to fracture and chip when machined. To address this problem, we have developed techniques to gently machine fused silica (the purest of glass) using processes that do not generate cracks. We use a combination of laser generated internal microstructural change, wet-etching and thermal bonding processes to manufacture the highest-quality fused silica products. Our process accuracy is on the order of 20 microns (or better).

You will not be limited to two-dimensional machining - Translume routinely machines fused silica in three-dimensions. Nor will you be limited to static elements - Translume has the unique capability to make MEMS devices and other micro-mechanical structures from glass, using flexures (also made of glass). We would welcome the opportunity to discuss your current needs. Feel free to give us a call at 734.528.6371 or contact us via email.