Disk Laser Research Garners EU Support
STUTTGART, Germany, Oct. 29, 2013 — Two projects starting next month concerned with developing ultrashort-pulse disk lasers for industrial materials processing applications are receiving €9.14 million (about $12.5 million) in funding from the European Union’s 7th European Subsidy Programme.
The three-year projects, planned to start Nov. 1 and led by the Institute for Laser Tools (IFSW) at the University of Stuttgart, each target disk lasers with several hundred watts of midrange power. The project calls for the development of two ultrafast titanium:sapphire thin-disk laser systems, one with chirped pulse amplification (CPA) to obtain high-energy pulses, and the other without CPA to achieve high repetition rates. Both will have a maximum average output power of at least 200 W at a pulse duration of well below 100 fs.
Currently, most of the powerful industrial ultrafast laser sources operate in the picosecond range, which is sufficient for precision micromachining of metals. But to achieve optimum precision on transparent materials such as the glass and ceramics widely used in smartphones and tablets, pulse durations on the order of 100 fs are required.
One project, “TISA TD: Ultrafast High-Average Power Ti:Sapphire Thin-Disk Oscillators and Amplifiers,” focuses on ultrashort-pulse (shorter than a tenth of a billionth of a second) Ti:sapphire lasers. The other involves using a crystalline waveguide as a preamplifier and a Ti:sapphire disk laser as a main amplifier for cylindrically polarized pulses with durations of billionths of seconds.
Together the STReP (Specific Targeted Research Projects) will cost €9.14 million, with the EU support totaling €6.37 million (about $8.8 million). IFSW will receive €1.9 million and the projects will be coordinated in IFSW’s business division for laser development and laser optics, headed by Dr. Abdou Ahmed.
“Along with the very interesting scientific challenges, the development of new ultrashort-pulse disk lasers with a high midrange power is also of great scientific interest with a view to the increase in productivity with the laser-based material processing,” said professor Thomas Graf, head of the IFSW.
Industry partners on the TISA TD project, coordinated by IFSW’s Dr. Andreas Voss, include Thales Optronique and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), both of France; and UK-based Element Six, Oxford Lasers and M-Squared Lasers.
Industry partners on the project to produce ultrashort-pulse lasers with cylindrical polarization, coordinated by Ahmed, are CNRS’ Time-Bandwidth Products and Class 4 Laser Professionals, both of Switzerland; Fibercryst of France; Next Scan Technology of the Netherlands; and Germany-based GFH and Schweißtechnische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt SLV Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Welding Training and Research Institute SLV Mecklenburg-Vorpommern).
Other potential applications for the work, including large-area precision volume structuring for microfluidics or integrated optics, will also be explored during the project.
For more information, visit: www.ifsw.uni-stuttgart.de
- A device that enlarges and strengthens a signal's output without significantly distorting its original waveshape. There are amplifiers for acoustical, optical and electronic signals.
- integrated optics
- A thin-film device containing miniature optical components connected via optical waveguides on a transparent dielectric substrate, whose lenses, detectors, filters, couplers and so forth perform operations analogous to those of integrated electronic circuits for switching, communications and logic.
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