San Francisco's Photonics West, the world's premier optics and photonics trade fair, aims to bring together science and industry once again in 2018. Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be putting on an effective demonstration of how to converge the two. The Aachen-based company's booth in the German Pavilion is primed to showcase cutting-edge technology, such as a 90% lighter laser cutting head and a laser platform for space applications.
Photonics experts from around the world will make their annual pilgrimage to San Francisco in late January. Their destination is SPIE Photonics West, a symposium with an extensive program featuring more than 5,200 presentations and a major exhibition with some 1,300 companies.
Image 1: This laser cutting head with diamond optics features built-in water cooling and shielding gas supply; diamond lenses reduce its weight by 90%.
© Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany
Fraunhofer ILT will be there, as usual. The Aachen-based institute's forte is laser technology for industrial applications. Fraunhofer ILT’s spectrum is broad, ranging from beam source development and additive processes to Industry 4.0.
Diamond lenses for 90% lighter laser optics
ILT's researchers teamed up with Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF in Freiburg and fellow Aachen-based Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT to develop a new laser optics with diamond lenses. Fraunhofer IAF optimized the production of monocrystalline diamonds, while Fraunhofer IPT worked on ultra-precision tools for machining diamond surfaces. Their efforts paid off: it is now possible to produce diamond substrates with diameters as wide as 10 mm.
Diamonds' refractive index is very high at 2.4. They also conduct heat remarkably well. These properties enable engineers to scale laser optics down to much smaller dimensions. The laser cutting head developed at the Fraunhofer ILT is 90% lighter than comparable conventional components with glass lenses.
The diamond lenses and a 1 kW fiber laser underwent an initial set of successful trials in 2017. This combination was able to cut 1.5 mm stainless steel without any difficulties. Now the team is working on an upgrade to achieve higher performance. Project Manager Martin Traub says, “Individual components have been tested for 2 kW, but we're particularly interested in 4 kW.”
New diode laser technology for energy-efficient materials processing
Fraunhofer ILT also wrapped up the BRIDLE project, an initiative to develop fiber-coupled diode lasers, in 2016. One of its objectives was to investigate laser diodes' dense wavelength coupling for demanding materials processing applications such as laser cutting. Researchers expect that it will not be long before diode laser-based beam sources provide the winning combination of optimum energy efficiency, very good beam characteristics and competitive manufacturing costs.
The team built a demonstrator that successfully coupled five wavelengths from different emitters on one bar into one 35 µm fiber. Its output power is 46 W, but various options allow for further scaling. Another system with around 800 W output from a fiber with a core diameter of 100 µm has also proven its merits in cutting tests.
FULAS – the platform for space-borne lasers
Fraunhofer ILT's experts have been working on laser systems for aerospace applications for many years. These efforts have culminated in the Future Laser System, or FULAS for short. Tomorrow's laser and optical systems for the aerospace industry will be built on the foundation of this universal platform.
FULAS not only features space-grade components; this platform also comes with semi-automated assembly technology. The FULAS demonstrator passed environmental qualification tests conducted in Airbus Defence and Space's climate chamber. Researchers are now developing and building the beam source for the MERLIN mission.
Fraunhofer ILT at Photonics West 2018
Fraunhofer ILT will set up shop in booth 4529-27 at the Photonics West Exhibition and will give several presentations. For more information: www.ilt.fraunhofer.de/en/fairs-and-events/fairs/photonics-west-2018.html
Dipl.-Ing. Dipl.-Wirt.Ing. Martin Traub
Group Manager Optics Design and Diode Lasers
Telephone +49 241 8906-342
Petra Nolis M.A. | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
Medica 2019: Arteriosclerosis - new technologies help to find proper catheters and location of vasoconstriction
11.11.2019 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Laser versus weeds: LZH shows Farming 4.0 at the Agritechnica
08.11.2019 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.
Vaccinia viruses serve as a vaccine against human smallpox and as the basis of new cancer therapies. Two studies now provide fascinating insights into their unusual propagation strategy at the atomic level.
For viruses to multiply, they usually need the support of the cells they infect. In many cases, only in their host’s nucleus can they find the machines,...
More than one hundred and fifty years have passed since the publication of James Clerk Maxwell's "A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field" (1865). What would our lives be without this publication?
It is difficult to imagine, as this treatise revolutionized our fundamental understanding of electric fields, magnetic fields, and light. The twenty original...
In a joint experimental and theoretical work performed at the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, an international team of physicists detected for the first time an orbital crossing in the highly charged ion Pr⁹⁺. Optical spectra were recorded employing an electron beam ion trap and analysed with the aid of atomic structure calculations. A proposed nHz-wide transition has been identified and its energy was determined with high precision. Theory predicts a very high sensitivity to new physics and extremely low susceptibility to external perturbations for this “clock line” making it a unique candidate for proposed precision studies.
Laser spectroscopy of neutral atoms and singly charged ions has reached astonishing precision by merit of a chain of technological advances during the past...
The ability to investigate the dynamics of single particle at the nano-scale and femtosecond level remained an unfathomed dream for years. It was not until the dawn of the 21st century that nanotechnology and femtoscience gradually merged together and the first ultrafast microscopy of individual quantum dots (QDs) and molecules was accomplished.
Ultrafast microscopy studies entirely rely on detecting nanoparticles or single molecules with luminescence techniques, which require efficient emitters to...
Graphene, a two-dimensional structure made of carbon, is a material with excellent mechanical, electronic and optical properties. However, it did not seem suitable for magnetic applications. Together with international partners, Empa researchers have now succeeded in synthesizing a unique nanographene predicted in the 1970s, which conclusively demonstrates that carbon in very specific forms has magnetic properties that could permit future spintronic applications. The results have just been published in the renowned journal Nature Nanotechnology.
Depending on the shape and orientation of their edges, graphene nanostructures (also known as nanographenes) can have very different properties – for example,...
03.12.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
13.12.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2019 | Materials Sciences