Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Making ultrafast lasers faster

31.01.2019

Lasers with ultrashort pulses in the picosecond and femtosecond range are often referred to as ultrafast lasers. They are known for their ultra-precise ablation and cutting results. Unfortunately, processing with such lasers takes time. To address this issue, a new research project, funded by the European Commission, aims to make material processing with ultrafast lasers up to a hundred times faster.

Ultrashort pulsed (USP) or ultrafast lasers can do something very unique: They ablate almost any material without causing a thermal load of the adjacent material.


Array of multi-beams for parallelized ultrafast laser processing.

© Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany


Surface textures on tool steel fabricated by means of ultrafast laser radiation.

© Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany

Their cuts are smooth and melt-free, even on a micron scale. All of this makes ultrafast lasers very interesting for industries such as tool making, where hard materials must be processed very precisely.

In recent years, much progress has been made in developing ultrafast laser sources: Lasers with higher average power, higher pulse energy or higher repetition rate have become available.

They have been complemented by beam delivery systems, either based on ultrafast scanners or some special diffractive optical elements (DOE), that spread one beam into a pattern of many identical beamlets.

Although laser sources and beam delivery systems have improved remarkably, there is still room to grow, in particular when it comes to high-power lasers and high-efficiency processing technology.

The optical dot-matrix printer

A consortium of six partners from industry and research is now planning the next step in the development of the USP-laser process technology.

They will develop a powerful 1 kW laser source and combine it with a special optical system that delivers a pattern of more than 60 switchable beamlets. One can see this as a late descendant of the dot-matrix printer.

The consortium consists of the research institute Fraunhofer ILT and the RWTH Aachen University from Germany as well as Amplitude Systèmes, LASEA France, AA Opto-Electronic from France and LASEA from Belgium as industrial research and development partners.

The European Commission is supporting the project, named “MultiFlex”, within the framework of the program ICT-04-2018 for three years with an amount of € 4.7 million.

Delivery: High-end system ready for industrial use

The partners are looking beyond the already challenging system components: They intend to deliver a prototype with all the necessary control technology ready for the shop floor. It will start with a 1 kW laser machine that can deliver up to 1 mJ pulse energy either at the regular 1 MHz repetition rate or in a burst mode with less than 20 ns pulse separation.

The optical system converts the single laser beam into a pattern of more than 60 beamlets, where each single beamlet can be turned on and off separately. The resulting pattern can be directed onto the workpiece with a fast scanner. The complex system will be complemented by an industry grade control unit.

The resulting prototype will undergo an extensive series of tests and be validated in use cases provided by associated industrial end users. It has already been estimated that the prototype will improve the productivity by about 100 fold compared to current standard ultrafast laser processing systems.

This will not only allow for significant progress in the tool making industry, but also opens up new perspectives for the application of ultrafast lasers for the texturing and functionalization of large surfaces.

Funding

This project receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 825201.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Dr. Johannes Finger
Group Micro- and Nano Structuring
Telephone +49 241 8906-472
johannes.finger@ilt.fraunhofer.de

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.ilt.fraunhofer.de/en

Petra Nolis M.A. | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Surprising number of exoplanets could host life
31.07.2020 | University of California - Riverside

nachricht Cosmic tango between the very small and the very large
30.07.2020 | Penn State

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: TU Graz Researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications

“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.

Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...

Im Focus: Tailored light inspired by nature

An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.

Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...

Im Focus: NYUAD astrophysicist investigates the possibility of life below the surface of Mars

  • A rover expected to explore below the surface of Mars in 2022 has the potential to provide more insights
  • The findings published in Scientific Reports, Springer Nature suggests the presence of traces of water on Mars, raising the question of the possibility of a life-supporting environment

Although no life has been detected on the Martian surface, a new study from astrophysicist and research scientist at the Center for Space Science at NYU Abu...

Im Focus: Manipulating non-magnetic atoms in a chromium halide enables tuning of magnetic properties

New approach creates synthetic layered magnets with unprecedented level of control over their magnetic properties

The magnetic properties of a chromium halide can be tuned by manipulating the non-magnetic atoms in the material, a team, led by Boston College researchers,...

Im Focus: A new method to significantly increase the range and stability of optical tweezers

Scientists of Tomsk Polytechnic University jointly with a team of the V.E. Zuev Institute of Atmospheric Optics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences have discovered a method to increase the operation range of optical traps also known

Optical tweezers are a device which uses a laser beam to move micron-sized objects such as living cells, proteins, and molecules. In 2018, the American...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2020”: The final touches for surfaces

23.07.2020 | Event News

Conference radar for cybersecurity

21.07.2020 | Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Time To Say Goodbye: The MOSAiC floe’s days are numbered

31.07.2020 | Earth Sciences

Scientists find new way to kill tuberculosis

31.07.2020 | Life Sciences

Spin, spin, spin: researchers enhance electron spin longevity

31.07.2020 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>