Close

Search

Search Menu
Photonics Media Photonics Buyers' Guide Photonics EDU Photonics Spectra BioPhotonics EuroPhotonics Industrial Photonics Photonics Showcase Photonics ProdSpec Photonics Handbook
More News
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
2016 Photonics Buyers' Guide Clearance! – Use Coupon Code FC16 to save 60%!
share
Email Facebook Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Comments

Laser-based Processes Simulated by Computer Cluster

Photonics.com
Jan 2011
AACHEN, Germany, Jan. 6, 2011 — Fraunhofer ILT has built a high-performance computer cluster at the Center for Nanophotonics to simulate laser-based production processes. These processes cover a wide span of time and length scales, especially in new techniques from micro- and nanophotonics. This requires special algorithms which have already been used successfully at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, as well as a massive amount of computer power.


High-performance computer in the Center for Nanophotonics. (Image: Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT)

In laser-based production operations, important process variables are difficult to measure in the micrometer-scale process zones owing to the tiny dimensions and very high temperatures that prevail. Computer simulations are therefore being increasingly used to optimize performance. They provide an insight into the processes and are easier to automate and often more cost-effective than experiments. What’s more, simulations enable fluctuations and measurement uncertainties to be excluded or specifically taken into account.

Multiscales – no problem for the computer cluster

Simulations of laser-based production processes tend to be multiscale problems, in which a large expansion of the component has to be calculated at a very high resolution. Micro processing requires a resolution of a few nanometers and a calculation area with an expansion of several millimeters. For example, when processing thin-film solar cells, structures must be ablated extremely precisely and evenly from the layers which are just a few 100 nm thick.

Nano for macro

But in macro processing too, for example steel plate cutting, it is becoming increasingly important to be able to control small-scale effects in order to expand the process limits. To optimize expulsion of the molten metal during laser cutting, for instance, boundary layer phenomena of ultrasonic gas flows in the kerf are analyzed in detail.

High computer power in the Center for Nanophotonics

The required large number of grid points exceeds the capacity of conventional workstations in terms of processing time and storage space. The funding provided by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for the new Center has made it possible to create a high-performance computer cluster for simulations of these multi-scale tasks at Fraunhofer ILT. The final stage of the high-power computer system was installed and started up in November. In developing the concept, the research scientists deployed a heterogeneous computer architecture consisting of multi-core processors and special high-performance computers with CUDA architecture, which allows parts of the calculations to be performed on graphics processors (GPUs). This modern concept is particularly suitable for the massively parallel execution of frequently recurring calculation steps. The installed cluster system has 376 CPUs and eight graphics processor systems with altogether 1920 GPUs. The storage capacity amounts to close on 2 TB of main memory and 67 TB of hard disk storage, of which 20 TB are on redundant interconnected drives. Data is exchanged within the cluster by means of a fast InfiniBand network. The theoretical total computer power is close on 10 teraflops, which roughly corresponds to the power of 1000 modern office PCs.

“The system is available to us around the clock on an exclusive basis. This means that simulations can be performed specifically for laser processes, to further our research and on behalf of customers, without any long waiting times,” said Dr. Jens Schüttler, project manager at Fraunhofer ILT. “This makes our work much easier while also saving time and money.”

Applications

The new high-performance computer system can be used to simulate complex operations from laser material processing at high resolution in a short processing time. Applications include molecular dynamic simulation of ablation with ultrashort pulses, the configuration of micro processing techniques and the design of gas flows and gas-cutting nozzles. The propagation of laser radiation at wavelength scale and the stability of the melting dynamics in laser cutting can also be simulated. This range of applications is interesting for manufacturers and users of laser processing machines who want to analyze, optimize and improve their processes.

For more information, visit:  www.ilt.fraunhofer.de 




GLOSSARY
kerf
The material lost during a laser cutting or machining operation.
Comments
Terms & Conditions Privacy Policy About Us Contact Us
back to top

Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn YouTube RSS
©2016 Photonics Media
x We deliver – right to your inbox. Subscribe FREE to our newsletters.