My research group recently purchased a 40W CO2 laser cutter. We work in the biosensing field and some of the materials we wish to cut are very thin nano/micro fibers that will be cut into relatively small pieces.
When cutting the material we hope to keep the samples as clean and uncontaminated as possible. So the current grid is not the best option as it will most likely get contaminated by other materials we cut and also the small samples will most likely fall through the grid anyway.
Can anyone suggest an alternative solid material that can be used instead of the grid? Ideally the material should not be affected by laser cut at all or at least not give off any smoke, particles or other contamination. Also the material should not reflect the laser back towards the sample.
Thus far I have tried two options on an external laser cutter before we got our own.
1st) Ceramic tile as I was told that it would not reflect any of the laser underneath the samples and also not get cut by the laser. BUT after testing it was found that a whole lot of molten ceramic was deposited on the samples.
2nd) Stainless steel metal sheet that was orbital sanded to reduce reflection. This was a little better than the ceramic but I think there was some reflection of the laser under the laser that reduced the quality of the cut. I only assume this because there was a little burnt material left on the steel after cutting the material.
I'm thinking possibly glass above the grid but I have heard that even glass can be etched and so if the sample material retains heat this may cause the glass to etch or shatter? We are yet to setup and switch on our new laser cutter and some experimentation and optimization is needed.
Thanks in advance for any advice!!