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SCANLAB, TU Dresden Develop Polygon Scanner Under LAMpAS Project

Photonics Spectra
Jan 2023
Collaborators SCANLAB and the Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden) reported their design of a high-speed speed polygon scanner unit that produces periodic surface patterns by using the principle of interference. The device was completed under the framework of the EU-funded LAMpAS (high throughput laser structuring with multiscale periodic feature sizes for advanced surface functionalities) project.

According to the collaborators, the device enables users to produce patterns with feature sizes around 3.5 µm, which is about 8× smaller than can be achieved using conventional polygon scanners operating at infrared wavelengths.

“For producing patterns with short spatial distances, large intercepting angles are needed, which are impossible to reach using conventional polygon scanners,” said Ronny De Loor, a systems architect at SCANLAB. “Furthermore, longer laser wavelengths require even larger angles compared to UV radiation. Therefore, we needed to develop a very special optical arrangement in order to obtain the needed angles.”

The newly developed polygon scanner system implements the direct laser interference patterning (DLIP) technology, which by combination of several laser beams allows users to manipulate and control the intensity distribution of the laser energy with resolution up to the submicron range. The combination of two laser beams produced a line-like intensity distribution, where the lateral distance between the lines could be controlled by the intercepting angles between the beams.

The DLIP-polygon head will now to be combined with a high-power laser previously developed by a team operating under the LAMpAS project, as high throughput manufacturing also requires high laser powers.

In December 2021, collaborators on the LAMpAS project reported that they reached the target parameters of a kilowatt-class ultrafast laser. TRUMPF developed the pulsed laser, which in tests exceeded 1.5 kW of average optical power. In February, LAMpAS said collaborators had developed a high-speed IR camera specifically adapted for monitoring the heat accumulation of laser surface structuring processes. New Infrared Technologies developed the camera. In October 2021, LAMpAS shared the development of a prototype in-line monitoring system for laser surface structuring by researchers at TU Dresden.

The final system will be mounted in Belgium by LASEA, a manufacturer of precision laser machines. The system additionally includes two monitoring systems with independent techniques to assure the stability of the structuring process as well as the quality of the obtained surface properties.

LAMpAS was set up in 2019 with a grant of €5.1 million (~$4.96 million) under the EU’s Horizon 2020 program. The aim of the project is to develop the potential of laser structuring and to bring the technology to industrial levels at affordable costs. It aims at the design of newly functionalized surfaces by enhancing the efficiency, flexibility, and productivity of processes based on the development of a high-power ultrashort-pulse laser system together with advanced optical concepts for high-throughput materials processing. LAMpAS technology aims to produce well-defined periodic surface patterns with feature sizes smaller than 1 µm that can provide tailored surface functions for applications including anti-fingerprint, decorative, and easy-to-clean finishes for home appliances.

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