Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Energy- and resource-efficient laser-based functionalizing of temperature-sensitive substrates

18.03.2013
As ever more is being demanded of the surfaces of components and parts, functional coatings are turning into a key technology for the 21st century.

Because conventional coating processes are increasingly coming up against their technological limits and are often too costly, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT developed a resource-efficient process for laser-based functionalizing of nano- and microparticle materials. As well as being suitable for inline applications, this process is marked by a high degree of flexibility and energy efficiency, while also allowing gentle processing of temperature-sensitive substrates.


Coated bearing and engine components.
Picture source: Fraunhofer ILT. Aachen/Volker Lannert


Conductor paths on glass substrate.
Picture source: Fraunhofer ILT. Aachen

Whether it is transparent conductive layers, conductor paths on semiconductors, anti-reflective surfaces on displays, self-cleaning layers on highly transparent glass, or corrosion, scratch and wear protection layers on components subject to high mechanical stress: in almost every area of industrial manufacturing, there is a great need for functional layers to optimize the surface properties of all sorts of components.

Industrially established processes for the production of high-performance coatings tend to employ vacuum coating processes. But these are costly, as they require elaborate systems technology and due to the required batch processing. More affordable processes, such as electroplating or flame spraying, are either applicable only to certain classes of substrate or else display major drawbacks in terms of the layer characteristics they produce. Coating temperature-sensitive substrates is a particularly thorny challenge in this regard.

Energy-efficient coating of temperature-sensitive substrates

Scientists at Fraunhofer ILT, working with industry partners, have succeeded in developing a resource-efficient laser-based surface functionalization process. This process combines wet-chemical coating processes with a laser process for subsequent functionalizing of the applied material. For example, when coating a glass, plastic or semiconductor substrate, an indium tin oxide (ITO)-nanodispersion is printed onto the component using an inkjet process.

Next, a galvo scanner is used to guide a focused laser beam over the surface to be processed. Laser processing significantly increases the conductivity of the ITO layer, while putting the substrate under far less thermal stress and consuming far less energy than conventional furnace-based coating processes. The new laser-based coating process enables the gentle coating of substrates with a low temperature stability and thereby widens the scope of wet-chemical coating processes significantly.

Locally selective deposition saves on material

Using conventional processes to achieve a locally selective coating of surfaces is not possible or prohibitively expensive in most cases. Functional considerations dictate that any surplus material must be subsequently removed, sometimes using elaborate processes, and this results in an enormous cost disadvantage. In contrast, the fact that laser processes can be controlled with spatial and temporal precision means they are able to functionalize coating materials in exactly the right places on the component and with no wastage.

Suitability for inline applications

A further challenge in functionalizing surfaces is how to integrate the coating process into existing production lines. Conventional processes for a thermal post-treatment (e.g. furnace-based processes) cannot be easily integrated into production lines at low costs. Fraunhofer ILT’s laser coating process poses no such problems, since the printing and laser processes it features are ideal for inline applications. This saves manufacturers a huge amount of time and money.

Applications

Fraunhofer ILT’s laser-based coating process can be tailored to meet a wide variety of coating needs. Spatial adaption to the substrate geometry is done by the precise control of the laser intensity distribution. Furthermore the application of pulsed laser beams enables the precise temporal control. Besides creating conductor paths on substrates made of glass, silicon or polymers such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), it can for instance also be used to apply ceramic corrosion and wear protection layers of zirconium dioxide onto hardened steel. This process is of particular relevance to automotive manufacturing, in which several million components must be coated each year so they can withstand high levels of static and dynamic stress as well as extremes of temperature.

Fraunhofer ILT at Hannover Messe

Our experts will be in Hannover on the joint IVAM booth C50.13 in hall 17 of Hannover Messe from April 8-12, 2013 to present various coated exhibits that highlight the breadth of applications for thin film processing.

Contacts:

Dipl.-Phys. Dominik Hawelka
Group Thin Film Processing
Phone +49 241 8906-676
dominik.hawelka@ilt.fraunhofer.de
Dr. Jochen Stollenwerk
Head of the Group Thin Film Processing
Phone +49 241 8906-411
jochen.stollenwerk@ilt.fraunhofer.de
Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT
Steinbachstraße 15
52074 Aachen, Germany

Axel Bauer | Fraunhofer-Institut
Further information:
http://www.ilt.fraunhofer.de

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world
08.02.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Werkstoff- und Strahltechnik IWS

nachricht New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components
23.01.2017 | Evonik Industries AG

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>