Microforming of metals has always been a challenge because of the limited formability of metals at micro-scales. This paper investigates an innovative micro-forming technique: Laser Dynamic Forming (LDF), which induces 3-D superplastic forming in metal thin films. This forming process proceeds in a sequence of laser irradiation of ablative coating, ionization, shockwave generation and propagation in metal thin films, and conformation of metal thin films to the shape of micro/nanoscale molds. Because the deformation proceeds at ultrahigh strain rate, it is found that materials experience superplastic deformation at microscales. In this paper, experiments are carried out to understand the deformation characteristics of LDF. The shapes of the formed samples are characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and optical profilometer. The thickness variations are characterized by slicing the cross section using focused ion beam (FIB). The magnitude of deformation depth in LDF is determined primarily by three critical factors: thin film thickness, geometry of molds, and laser intensity. The relationships between laser intensity, film thickness, and mold size are explored in process maps to find out suitable processing conditions of LDF. Nanoindentation testings are conducted to show that the mechanical properties (hardness and yield strength) are increased significantly after LDF.

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