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  • Germany Opens Digital Photonic Production Research Campus
Feb 2015
AACHEN, Germany, Feb. 27, 2015 — Government, scientific and industry leaders recently opened the Digital Photonic Production research campus to develop light as a production tool.

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding nine such research campuses across Germany and intends to provide €2 million per year for up to 15 years for the DPP research campus.

Thomas Rachel and Reinhart Poprawe
Professor Dr. Reinhart Poprawe, right, of RWTH Aachen University and the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology, presents Thomas Rachel, parliamentary state secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, with a 3-D printed aluminum key at an event marking the opening of the Digital Photonic Production research campus Jan. 23. Courtesy of Fraunhofer ILT.

Alongside laser additive manufacturing methods, work at the DPP research campus will also harness manufacturing techniques that use ultrafast lasers, as well as new kinds of vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) beam sources, for example, to selectively functionalize nanoscale layers.

The DPP research campus is located at RWTH Aachen University. Among the 20 industry partners are small- and medium-sized enterprises, as well as large companies such as Siemens AG. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology also plays a key role.

Dr. Nicolas Vortmeyer, chief technology officer at Siemens’ power and gas division, said his firm was particularly interested in laser-based 3-D printing. The technique, he said, “removes the limitations we’ve had to struggle with in manufacturing and development. This technology allows us to manufacture spare parts even for older power plant turbines we no longer have the plans for, and to do so relatively quickly.”

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