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A new laser-based manufacturing process was developed in the last decade and has recently become commercially available. The process is called laser milling. This is a process for direct material removal in a layer-by-layer fashion. 3D CAD data is used to generate CNC machining programs. The process is flexible and can be employed in a wide range of applications from one-off part production to the manufacture of small batches. The laser milling process removes material as a result of interaction between the laser beam and the substrate or work piece.
Glass is a versatile material and as such used in optics, electronics or biomedicine. However, the actual applications most often require an assembly of several glass parts. Although established methods for glass joining exist they have limitations making them highly application-specific. In contrast to this a novel approach for fusion welding of glass using ultra short laser pulses, extensively investigated by the blz over many years, offers much better versatility.
Global warming is a big issue nowadays and needs to be taken serious. Automobiles mainly contribute at almost a quarter of global CO2 emissions. To contain the greenhouse effect, it is therefore essential to minimize these emissions. Therefore lightweight constructions are gaining importance in industrial applications. To realize the weight reduction often the principle of multi-material design is used. Thereby for each component the optimum material is selected according to the product-specific requirements.
A challenge gaining more and more importance is the joining of dissimilar types of plastics to realize tailored multi-material structures for light-weight constructions. Thereby combinations of dissimilar materials like thermosetting carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) and thermoplastics play an important role. At the moment the available joining techniques limit the generation of optimal composites.
For laser interference patterning two or more beams are overlapped in order to generate an interference pattern in the beam crossing region. Direct patterning of the material is achieved by using a pico second laser with high pulse energies in the region of 100 micro joules. The beam can be splitted by a spatial light modulator which enables additional flexibility by changing the beam angle in order to change the pattern period.
With the help of liquid crystal spatial light modulator (SLM) the phase and / or amplitude of a light wave can be varied according to the principle of the electric control of the optical characteristics of a nematic liquid crystal layer. The SLM can be used in micro structuring in order to generate optical functions such as diffractive elements, beam shapers, diffractive beam splitter or flexible diffuser.
Structures produced by laser micro milling after slicing a CAD model into layers. The CAD model specifies the target geometry of the tool for injection moulding.Structuring of metalsThe structures with a diameter of 360 µm and a depth of 70 µm are generated without bumps at the edges of the structures and without any melt residues.