This paper discusses various methods of increasing the efficiency of controllable thermal cleavage of insulating materials (oxide glasses, quartz, sapphire, etc.) by means of the radiation of CO2 lasers: noncontact production of microdefects for setting up a microcrack in the material being processed, control of the motion of a laser microcrack to make it possible to increase both the speed and thickness of the high-accuracy cutting of an insulating material by laser thermal cleavage, and thermal cleavage in mutually intersecting directions to obtain miniature items. © 2004 Optical Society of America

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