Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lasers in material processing: Reducing the risk of X-rays

30.11.2018

Whether it’s cutting, drilling, removing or structuring, industrial material processing should be as quick and as cost-effective as possible. Pulse lasers have established themselves as an ‘all-round work tool’ suitable for various machining methods. From glass and steel to complex composite systems, they are used for numerous materials. Ultrashort laser pulses are also being used more frequently in medicine, for example in eye surgery. However, they can have undesirable side-effects, as along with the use of high intensity laser pulses comes the generation of X-rays.

For the first time, BAM scientists have systematically depicted at which laser intensities and with which materials the X-ray emission surpasses the permitted radiation limits. From their findings, they have derived initial recommendations for occupational safety measures.


The use of ultrashort pulse lasers with durations in the picosecond and femtosecond time scale offers many advantages for material processing: the laser beam is very high in energy, but only operates on the material for a very short time.

This laser pulse is enough to precisely process the material. At the same time, the material in the area surrounding the processing location is hardly heated and remains unchanged.

Underestimated X-rays

In order to process the material’s surface, many laser pulses are normally focused one after the other on the workpiece. This results in a health risk which, until now, has been underestimated: “X-rays can be generated when the laser pulses come into contact with the material,” explains Dr. Jörg Krüger, acting head of the Nanomaterial Technologies division.

In the case of a single laser pulse, the amount of X-ray radiation produced under usual material processing conditions is low, but: “Due to the high repetition rates of several hundred thousand pulses per second, the X-rays can reach a critical value, one which is over the permitted limits for radiation protection,” said Dr. Herbert Legall, who, together with Christoph Schwanke, is conducting the experimental research at BAM.

In collaboration with Prof. Günter Dittmar from the Steinbeis-Transferzentrum in Aalen, the BAM team has systematically described at which laser intensity and with which material a critical amount of X-rays can be generated:

“The use of ultrashort pulsed lasers must be safe,” says Jörg Krüger, “possible health risks must remain as low as possible through suitable protection measures.” The current research project is therefore also investigating other possibilities as to how to effectively shield against the resulting X-ray emission.

The works are funded within the framework of the BMBF project “X-ray emissions during ultrashort pulse laser processing”. The first results have already been published on Open Access.

Technology with potential

The development of laser systems for material processing has made great advancements in the past. Although ultrashort pulse lasers were considered an extravagant tool 20 years ago, their use is now widespread.

The importance of this technology was recently underlined with the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics in October 2018 to Prof. Gérard Mourou and Prof. Donna Strickland, among others. These two scientists were honoured for the development of a method to generate high-energy, ultrashort optical pulses.

The award ceremony also proved something else: science requires perseverance. Along with BAM scientist Jörg Krüger, Gérard Mourou had already published about “femtosecond laser material processing of glasses” back in the 1990s.

Contact:

Venio Quinque, M.A., LL.M./LL.B.
Head of Section Corporate Communications
Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und –prüfung (BAM)
Unter den Eichen 87
12205 Berlin
GERMANY
T: + 49 30 8104-1002
F: + 49 30 8104-71002
presse@bam.de
www.bam.de

About BAM

BAM promotes safety in technology and chemistry.
As a departmental research institute of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, BAM performs research, testing and offers advisory support to protect people, the environment and material goods. Its activity in the fields of materials science, materials engineering and chemistry is focussed on the technical safety of products and processes.

BAM’s research is directed towards substances, materials, building elements, components and facilities as well as natural and technical systems important for the national economy and relevant to society. It also tests and assesses their safe handling and operation. BAM develops and validates analysis procedures and assessment methods, models and necessary standards and provides science-based services for the German industry in a European and international framework.

Safety creates markets.
BAM sets and represents high standards for safety in technology and chemistry for Germany and its global markets to further develop the successful German quality culture "Made in Germany“.

M.A., LL.M./LL.B. Venio Quinque | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.bam.de

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Barely scratching the surface: A new way to make robust membranes
13.12.2018 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht Topological material switched off and on for the first time
11.12.2018 | ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>