What is Laser Photoplotter

By Bester PCBA

Last Updated: 2024-01-02

Table of Contents

What is Laser Photoplotter

A laser photoplotter, laser photo plotter, or laser plotter, is a device used for the process of photoplotting. Photoplotting involves creating photoplots, which are masks used in the photolithography process of PCB manufacturing.

Unlike traditional vector photoplotters, a laser photoplotter utilizes laser technology to generate highly accurate and consistent plots. It simulates a vector photoplotter by using software to create a raster image of individual objects in a CAD database. This image is then plotted as a series of lines or dots at a very fine resolution.

Laser photoplotters can produce more sophisticated designs and work with complex CAD software. The laser beam in a Laser Photoplotter can be focused on one or multiple locations and can be modulated at high frequency rates, allowing for the creation of detailed images.

The light source used in laser photoplotters can vary, including red helium-neon lasers, laser diodes, or red LEDs. Some Laser Photoplotter systems eliminate the use of photographic film and directly expose a coated substrate to light using a laser or xenon lamp.

The data instructions used to guide a laser photoplotter are commonly written in Gerber format. These instructions contain information on the shape and size of lines, holes, and other features in the image. Laser Photoplotters often use numerical data to turn the laser on or off at specific time intervals. Other data formats have also been developed for photoplotting with CAD or CAM software programs.

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