The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is world-wide one of the most important development and contract research institutes of its specific field. The activities cover a wide range of areas such as the development of new laser beam sources and components, the use of modern laser measurement and a broad range of laser applications like 3D printing of metal components. As part of ultraSURFACE Fraunhofer ILT will contribute its expertise and process knowledge in the fields of laser polishing, laser structuring and laser thin film processing.
Fraunhofer ILT is developing laser polishing of metals in close cooperation with several industrial partners. Due to numerous requests from interested companies the long-term focus of the development at Fraunhofer ILT in the field of laser polishing is the treatment of 3D surfaces. Basics for laser polishing of 3D surfaces and the regarding machine technology have been developed in the EU project poliMATIC and the BMBF project ALPINE. Additionally together with BerlinHeart and the associated partner Clean Lasersysteme the first laser polishing robotic cell demonstrator was developed in the Innonet-project “MediSurf”.
For his ground-breaking work on laser polishing Dr. Edgar Willenborg, the group leader of the laser polishing research group at Fraunhofer ILT received the Innovation-price North-Rhine-Westphalia in 2006 and the WLT (“Wissenschaftliche Gemeinschaft Lasertechnik”) price in 2009. In 5 doctoral dissertations process fundamentals for laser polishing of steel materials have been developed and characteristics of laser polished surfaces have been investigated. Fraunhofer ILT is the holder of some patents concerning laser polishing. The following patents will be relevant for the project: EP 1516068 B1 / DE 102 28743 B4, DE102005026968 B4, DE10342750 B4, WO2013/010876 A1.
High spatial resolution with the ability to focus down to a few micrometers, low heat input, and high flexibility are the features that characterize laser beams as a tool for precision structuring and surface functionalization. They have a wide range of applications in fields as diverse as electronics, sensor technology, medical engineering, precision engineering, and microsystems engineering. For this purpose, Fraunhofer ILT group for micro and nano structuring develops manufacturing techniques and production systems that are based on micro-technology and are adapted specifically to their respective applications.
Laser thin film processing
Thin films are a powerful tool for improving performance and increasing the scope of technical components in many areas of modern life. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT develops customized solutions for various applications.The main activities of the Fraunhofer ILT Group Thin Film Processing and Cleaning comprise laser treatment of thin films for functionalisation (e.g. electrical conductivity, wear and corrosion protection) on heat-sensitive substrates, a new high-speed technique for fabrication of conducting lines on glass substrates, cleaning and modification of surfaces by a wide range of laser sources from the UV to IR wavelength range and design of optical components for beam guiding and shaping.