Laser bonding is an established technology that uses lasers to bond additive marking material to a wide variety of different substrates and is commonly used with CO2, Nd:YAG and Fiber lasers.
The technology was first invented in the mid 1990s by Paul W. Harrison, the founder of TherMark. After selling his interest in TherMark, he went on to found Laser Bonding Technology and continues to be involved with laser marking hardware and the further development of new and unique marking materials. These new products produce permanent marks on most metal, glass, ceramic, plastic and stone surfaces for use in a wide range of industrial and artistic applications, ranging from automotive, aerospace and medical to the awards & personalization 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 to form a permanently bonded mark or decoration instead of removing material as is done in those other laser processes. 
For metals, parts can be permanently marked with high contrast and high resolution for identification, logos, bar-coding and serialization purposes, without damage to the substrate. With glass and ceramics, complex surfaces can be decorated or marked; however, the traditional kiln firing process is replaced by a laser, with its permanently bonded decorations and markings fired on in seconds instead of minutes or hours.
The laser bonding process technology evolves
Mark quality depends on a variety of factors, including the substrate surface, laser type and power, marking speed and spot size, beam overlap, material thickness and other laser parameters. LaserBond™ products are supplied in both aerosol spray cans and liquid ink containers. They may be applied by various methods, including a manual brush-on technique, air brushing, industrial spraying, pad printing, screen printing, roll coating and tape transfer. The resulting marks are permanently bonded to the substrate and, in most cases, they’re as durable as the substrate itself.
As with most technologies, what is new and exciting today will be obsolete in just a few years. New improvements to the LaserBond™ materials which are based on established sub-micron and nanoparticle technology are yielding surprising results and a new pending patent. LaserBond™products and technology do not infringe on any of the original and/or currently existing patents. For additional information and to learn more about these existing and pending patents - click on the Blog tab at the top of the page.
Most properties of nanoparticles are size dependent and don’t become apparent until their size has been reduced to the nanometer scale. The high surface to volume ratio coupled with the size effects (quantum effects) of such nanoparticles introduces many size-dependent phenomena such as new or improved physical, chemical and mechanical properties. Examples are the increased surface area facilitating the absorption and/or scattering of visible light and laser energy, as well as the decreased melting point of these materials. At the nanometer scale; they are, in effect, a bridge between bulk materials and atomic or molecular structures.
Conventional bulk materials have constant physical properties regardless of their size; however, at the nano-scale, size-dependent properties are often observed. For bulk material particles larger than one micron, such as those used in the “TherMark” and “CerMark” products, the percentage of atoms at the surface is insignificant in relation to the number of atoms in the total bulk of the material particles. The interesting and often unexpected properties of nanoparticles, such as their ability to bond with a wide variety of other materials, are shown by the ability of the LaserBond™ products to be used on metal, glass, ceramic, plastic and stone surfaces and are primarily due to the quantum effects of the material particles. Now one LaserBond™ product formulation can be used on many different substrate surfaces.
Nanoparticles also possess unexpected optical properties as they are small enough to confine their electrons and produce additional quantum effects. Nanoparticles are smaller than the wavelength of visible light. The color they display is a direct result of the interaction of light with the surface of the nanoparticles; this interaction is called Plasmon resonance. The color changes as the size and distance between the nanoparticles varies.
For example, different size nanoparticles of silver display a rainbow of colors when they’re in solution and laboratory testing indicates that they could be used in color laser marking materials in the future.
The durability of laser bonded markings
Marks placed on stainless steel and other metals 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 also been tested for resistance to weather conditions, acids, bases and scratching.
The laser bonding process is outlined and specified in both military  and NASA  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). For further chemical and technical information the MSDS and Laser Settings can be downloaded for viewing and/or printing. 
Q: What is the difference between CerMark, TherMark and LaserBond 100? A: All three products are similar in chemical formulation and they all work with basically the same laser settings to produce permanent black marks; however, when first applied CerMark dries to a paint-like tan color, TherMark dries to a powdery light gray color and LaserBond 100 bonding material dries to a powdery darker gray color.
Q: Can LaserBond 100 be used on different substrate surfaces? A: Yes, LaserBond 100 laser bonding material is an all purpose product that will mark on glass, ceramic, stone and most metals.
Q: I want to try LaserBond 100. Should I use aerosol spray or liquid ink? A: It is recommended that you start with aerosol spray for test and evaluation purposes. The aerosol spray cans are pre-mixed and ready to use which eliminates the need to dilute the liquid ink - you only need to concentrate on getting the correct coating thickness and laser settings as shown on the instruction sheet enclosed with each spray can. Once you’ve tried the aerosol and gotten some experience with spraying it and determining the correct laser parameters, you can switch to foam, bristle or air brush application of the liquid ink when you begin marking larger quantities. The liquid ink is concentrated and needs to be diluted with denatured alcohol, so please follow the instructions shown on the label. You’ll already be familiar with the proper coating thickness and it will be easy to switch if desired. There are considerable economic advantages for switching to the liquid ink; since a square inch of aerosol spray costs about $0.06, while a square inch of liquid ink purchased in a 1,000 gram container costs less than $0.02.
Q. How do I apply LaserBond 100? A: It is recommended that the aerosol spray be applied by holding the spray can approximately 10” – 12” from the surface and spraying directly onto it using a side-to-side motion. The liquid ink can be applied by manually brushing it onto the surface using a foam or bristle brush or by spraying it using an air brush or spray gun. Always be careful to ensure a smooth and even coat is applied. Any variation in the coating thickness such as drips, runs or brush marks will translate into variation in the final appearance of the resulting mark. Spraying usually provides the best results when properly applied.
Q: What is the best coating thickness? A: A consistently thin, even and smooth coating thickness of 0.001” – 0.002” is best. A thicker coating will require more laser power and will also decrease the resulting marking resolution.
Q. How do I dilute LaserBond 100 liquid ink? A: The liquid ink should be diluted with denatured alcohol as instructed on the label: 1:1 for manual brushing and 2:1 for spraying. Be sure to stir or shake thoroughly prior to and during use.
Q. What kind of laser do I need? A: LaserBond 100 products can be used with CO2, Nd:YAG, DPSS and Fiber lasers.
Q. How much power should I use? A: The power settings that work best for LaserBond 100 laser bonding materials can vary depending on the type of laser being used. For example, on a 35 watt CO2 laser, marking on stainless steel requires the use of 100% power and 50% - 60% speed. Marking on aluminum requires 100% power at a much slower speed of 5% - 10% with the same laser. A more powerful laser will be able to make the same mark using a lower % of power or a faster speed. Also, brass, copper and other soft, heat conductive metals require higher powers and slower speeds. These metals will conduct heat away from the marking surface faster than steel or other hard metals, thus requiring more overall laser power to make a mark. Power settings will vary depending on the laser used and the substrate material being marked, so some experimentation will be necessary in order to achieve the best results.
Q: My marks wash off after laser marking, what am I doing wrong? A: This is usually due to insufficient overall laser power and/or other laser parameters. If problems persist, please contact us for more specific technical support.
Q. Can I get blacker marks with a thicker coating of LaserBond 100? A: No. A thicker coating will not make the marks any darker and will only result in more power being needed to make a mark and it will decrease the resolution and detail within the finished mark
Q: Is the LaserBond 100 laser bonding material dangerous or toxic? A: Please carefully read the label and MSDS statement on application and worker safety.
Q: How should I dispose of excess LaserBond 100 laser bonding material? A: Please read the MSDS for more information on proper disposal per local regulation.
Q: Is LaserBond 100 laser bonding material FDA approved? A: LaserBond 100 materials are not approved directly by the FDA as the FDA's role is to approve final products rather than component materials; however, the FDA has approved many of our customers’ finished medical products such as surgical instruments and implants which have been marked using the LaserBond materials.
Q: Why can't the LaserBond 100 aerosol spray cans be shipped via air while the liquid ink products can be? A: The aerosol cans contain alcohol-based materials and flammable, pressurized gases which are considered a safety hazard on airplanes by various government regulations; domestically (DOT 49 CFR) and internationally (IATA), requiring special packaging, paperwork and labeling which incurs considerable extra shipping expense; resulting in surface shipment designated as ORM-D which must go by truck within the continental US. The liquid ink is a non-flammable, water-based product and is not considered a safety risk.
Q: What do I use to clean up after using LaserBond 100 laser bond materials? A: LaserBond 100 products can be cleaned up using plain water in your sink. There is no hazard in allowing it to just go down the drain.
Q: How long will the marks last? How tough are they? A: Marks made with LaserBond 100 laser bonding materials are permanent and generally considered to be as durable as the surface of the substrate material itself. Physical testing has shown them to be resistant to several common strong acids, bases, organic solvents and extreme heat or cold as well as exhibiting good salt spray resistance, scratch resistance and long term UV resistance.
Q: What kind of laser do I need? A: LaserBond 100 products can be used with CO2, Nd:YAG, DPSS and Fiber lasers.
Q: Does LaserBond 100 bonding materials work on glass and ceramic? A: Yes, LaserBond 100 is an all purpose laser bonding material; however, glass and ceramic are very brittle and heat sensitive materials which require lower power and slower speeds. Please consult our laser setting charts for further guidance and information. It usually takes considerable experimentation to achieve good marks, but satisfactory results have been reported in most cases.
Q: Will LaserBond 100 bonding materials work on lacquer coated metals like brass? A: No. If the metal has a protective coating on it, the coating must be removed before it can be marked. Most protective coatings will interfere with the process chemistry and the LaserBond 100 will not be able to bond to the surface of the metal.
Q: Will LaserBond 100 bonding materials work on anodized aluminum? A: Yes, LaserBond 100 will work on some anodized aluminum surfaces, however, the types of anodize coatings vary significantly as do the aluminum alloys in the substrate, so they can prove to be very difficult to mark. It usually takes considerable experimentation to achieve good marks, but satisfactory results have been reported in many cases.
Q: Will LaserBond 100 bonding materials work on stone surfaces? A: Yes, LaserBond 100 will work on polished stone surfaces like granite and marble; but most stone surfaces are rough and quite porous so a protective clear acrylic coating (Krylon) must be applied to the surface so the LaserBond 100 laser bonding material will not be absorbed into the stone and cause a permanent stain or discoloring. It usually takes some experimentation, but satisfactory results have been reported in most cases.
Q: How should I store LaserBond 100 products and for how long? A: All LaserBond 100 products should be stored in an upright position with the lids tightly closed. They are guaranteed for one (1) year from date of purchase; however, they should continue to work well for years to come provided they have been stored properly.
Q. Why do I have to shake or stir the LaserBond 100 products before and during use? A: All LaserBond 100 products contain heavy metal pigments which will settle quickly if not stirred or shaken before and during use. This is especially important in order to achieve a thin and even coating.
Q: How do I know when I’ve sprayed the right amount LaserBond 100 material? A: Hold the spray can or air brush 10 - 12 inches from the substrate surface. It is important that the LaserBond 100 is applied to obtain an even and thin coating, using a side-to-side motion. Applying LaserBond 100 may require a little practice to obtain the correct coating thickness – which should be 0.002” - .003” (0.05mm) thick. A good exercise is to draw a line on white paper using a black marker and then spray only as much LaserBond 100 as needed to make the line disappear.
Q: How do I keep the nozzle clean on the LaserBond 100 aerosol spray can? A: After use, the spray can nozzle should be cleaned by inverting the can and spraying until the mist becomes clear. Any excess material on the nozzle should be removed with water. The nozzle can be removed and soaked in warm water or alcohol if spraying difficulty is encountered or the nozzle becomes clogged.
Q: How does the Satisfaction Guarantee work? A: If you’re not satisfied with our product allow us the opportunity to understand the problem as most of the time it’s only a matter of power settings or improper use of the LaserBond 100 product. After filling out our online survey and providing a photo of the problem, our product specialist will contact you and help you. If you are still not satisfied, we will provide a credit for the amount paid for the LaserBond 100 product toward the purchase of a similar product from Jorlink (not to include freight charges).
Quick Contact: Tel: (336) 288-1613 Toll Free (866)288-1613
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