Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Controlled ablation

Date:
December 11, 2013
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Ultra-short laser pulses provide a fast and precise way of processing a wide range of materials without excessive heat input. Scientists have turned the ultra-short-pulse laser into an effective series-production tool.

Ultra-short laser pulses provide a fast and precise way of processing a wide range of materials without excessive heat input. Scientists from Bosch, TRUMPF, Jena University and Fraunhofer IOF have turned the ultra-short-pulse laser into an effective series-production tool. For their collective effort they were awarded the German Future Prize 2013 on December 4.

Although lasers are an indispensable part of industrial manufacturing, in some areas conventional systems are reaching the limits of what they can do. A laser beam directed at a piece of metal will cause the metal to heat up and partially vaporize and melt. However, controlling the properties of melted materials is extremely difficult -imperfections develop, meaning that manufacturers still have to go to the trouble of reworking the workpiece. This costs both time and money. Yet another drawback is that there are some materials, such as diamond and sapphire, that cannot be success-fully processed at all this way.

Unlike the ultra-short-pulse (USP) laser: "By cleverly selecting the right pulse duration, pulse energy and focusing, the material is heated so quickly and forcefully that it is instantly vaporized," says Stefan Nolte, describing the particular advantage of this technique. Nolte is Professor of Experimental and Laser Physics at Friedrich-Schiller University and also works at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF, both in Jena. He laid important scientific foundations for the newtechnology. Little by little, an USP laser can remove -- or ablate -tiny areas measuring just a few millionths of a millimeter (nanometers). At lightning speed, a computer-controlled mirror system makes sure the laser pulses hit the right spot. "Hundreds of thousands of pulses per second lead to a melt-free processing with unparalleled precision," explains Dr. Jens König from technology company Bosch. Using "cold ablation," as it is also known among engineers, it is even possible to engrave incredibly fine structues onto the head of a match without igniting it.

"Ultra-short-pulse lasers introduce time dimensions to production that are almost too small to imagine. When we say 'ultra-short' we're taking about pulses that last mere picoseconds. That's just a few trillions of a second," says Dr. Dirk Sutter from laser manufacturer TRUMPF. By way of comparison, a beam of light takes about a second to travel from Earth to the Moon -- in a picosecond, it gets no further than 0.3 of a millimeter.

Experts have been using ultra-short laser pulses for several years as a precise and gentle way to process even highly sensitive materials. But for most of that time, this method was rarely used anywhere but in the research lab. This was because nobody knew exactly just how to design laser beams that would meet the rigorous demands of industrial manufacturing. For instance, how do you choose the best pulse length, repetition rate and pulse energy to achieve truly precise -- and above all productive -- material ablation results and repeat this process reliably over hundreds of billions of pulses? Thanks to the relentless efforts of Jens König, Dirk Sutter and Stefan Nolte, the USP laser has become a robust and reliable tool for factory use. Bosch experts researched the requirements and TRUMPF manufactured reliable high-performance USP lasers with the right specifications. The experts managed to implement these USP lasersinto precision production machines, enabling an industrial series production with all benefits of USP pocessing.

In recognition of their outstanding work, German President Joachim Gauck presented Jens König, Dirk Sutter and Stefan Nolte with the German Future Prize 2013 on December 4. The price for technology and innovation honors top scientific work thatdisplays great economic potential. This highly prize has been awarded annually since 1997 and comes with 250,000 euros prize money.

From diamond, strengthened glasses and steel, to semiconductors, ceramics and sensitive plastics -- this new, innovative technology offers contactless processing of virtually any material. Universally deployable, USP lasers drill, cut, structure or mill to almost any design. This precise technique can even be used to manufacture new products that up to now proved exceedingly difficult -- or impossible -- to poduce. USP lasers are already being used in the manufacture of extremely fine nozzles for gasolineinjection valves and of better-tolerated stents, as well as to cut strengthened glass for smartphone displays.

Fundamental research, development and production has taken place in Germany. The award-winning scientists have over 40 registered patents, and this sector has already created numerous new jobs. By 2013, some 30 million parts manufactured with the help of USP lasers were delivered to Bosch customers alone. And every day, TRUMPF sells another USP laser.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Controlled ablation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131211093736.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2013, December 11). Controlled ablation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131211093736.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Controlled ablation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131211093736.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

AP (July 18, 2014) — The Obama administration approved the use of sonic cannons to discover deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through waters shared by endangered whales and turtles. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Newsy (July 18, 2014) — The wreckage of the German submarine U-166 has become clearly visible for the first time since it was discovered in 2001. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Reuters - US Online Video (July 17, 2014) — President Barak Obama stopped by at a lunch counter in Delaware before making remarks about boosting the nation's infrastructure. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

TheStreet (July 16, 2014) — Oil Futures are bouncing back after tumbling below $100 a barrel for the first time since May yesterday. Jeff Grossman is the president of BRG Brokerage and trades at the NYMEX. Grossman tells TheStreet the Middle East is always a concern for oil traders. Oil prices were pushed down in recent weeks on Libya increasing its production. Supply disruptions in Iraq fading also contributed to prices falling. News from China's economic front showing a growth for the second quarter also calmed fears on its slowdown. Jeff Grossman talks to TheStreet's Susannah Lee on this and more on the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins