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A new generation of high-power ultrafast lasers for industry and research

In the Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Advanced Photon Sources CAPS, 13 Fraunhofer Institutes bundle their expertise for the development of laser systems that reach highest powers with ultrashort pulses and the exploration of their application potentials. The Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen and for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena contribute their competence in the development of high-power ultrafast lasers, which is combined in the cluster with the expertise of other Fraunhofer Institutes in the fields of systems technology and applications. 

Ultrafast lasers, with their very high intensity and very short pulses, can process materials with high precision. Compared to conventional industrial lasers, they allow almost unlimited three-dimensional structuring of any material. In Fraunhofer CAPS, the partners are building a basis for economical throughputs in ultrahigh precision manufacturing. The precision and quality achieved provides the competitive edge over almost any other technique. Hence, ultrafast lasers are the most versatile, wear-free tools for future digital photonic production.

Since its founding in 2018, Fraunhofer CAPS has achieved milestones and awards - and set world records in the field of high-power ultrafast laser technology. The developed lasers already exceed the 10 kW limit with pulse durations in the range of a few hundred femtoseconds. With these lasers and optimized beam guiding systems, the partners are opening the way for new applications in production, imaging, materials science and fundamental research, among others.

Partners from industry and research are invited to participate and use the new laser systems in the application laboratories in Aachen and Jena for their innovations.

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"futureAM - Next Generation Additive Manufacturing”

The Fraunhofer Lighthouse project futureAM was launched in 2017 with the aim of accelerating the additive manufacturing (AM) of metal components by at least a factor of 10. Activities focused on a holistic view of digital and physical value creation from order entry to the finished metallic 3D printed component, and on the leap into a new technology generation of AM. The project partners defined the four fields of action for these goals: Industry 4.0 and digital process chain, scalable and robust AM processes, materials and system technology/automation. This video presents the project results.

The following Fraunhofer Institutes participated in this project: 

  • Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, Aachen (project coordination)
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Additive Production Technologies IAPT, Hamburg
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Materials Research IFAM, Bremen
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD, Darmstadt
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS, Dresden
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU, Chemnitz, Dresden

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Stifterverband Prize for Multi-beam Laser Processing

The ultra-short pulse laser is seeing ever wider acceptance among industrial users as a tool for precision manufacturing. In particular, these advances are due to new developments or technological progress in system technology, which increase productivity considerably. Increasing productivity significantly was also the goal of a team from industry and research, which was awarded the Science Prize of the Stifterverband for Collaborative Research at the annual conference of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft on October 9, 2020. The team has developed a technology in which a laser beam is split into up to 16 partial beams. That means there are 16 tools controlled in parallel and individually to produce functional surfaces. 

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