News / September 2021
The international, prominent jury already knows, but the question of who wins the Berthold Leibinger Innovationspreis 2020 will keep the rest in suspense until the award ceremony on September 24. Nominated for this award, scientists from the MultiSurf collaborative research project have been invited to Ditzingen near Stuttgart for this event. There, Professor Arnold Gillner (Fraunhofer ILT), Dr. Stephan Brüning (Schepers GmbH & Co. KG) and Dr. Keming Du (EdgeWave GmbH Innovative Laser Solutions), along with other finalists from around the world, will attend the award ceremony at the headquarters of the company Trumpf GmbH und Co. KG.
In the laser industry, this award is one of the most prestigious worldwide. “Being nominated as a finalist is already a special honor and recognizes the outstanding work of our team of scientists,” said a delighted Professor Constantin Häfner, Director of Fraunhofer ILT.
Professor Gillner’s team was nominated for developing a multi-beam system in which a laser beam is split into up to 16 partial beams. These are 16 tools that can be used in parallel and controlled individually to produce functional surfaces. This approach is based on a new ultrashort pulse laser with 500 watts average power from EdgeWave. The laser beam is distributed to many partial beams, each with the same beam parameters, using a special optical assembly – the heart of the system. In the meantime, the technology has been expanded to 64 beams in a further research project, whereby all partial beams can be modulated individually. The beam matrix is guided over the surfaces to be structured, with all beams being switched on and off separately and quickly as required. The exact parameters for optimum material removal were simulated and matched with process knowledge acquired over many years by the experts at Fraunhofer ILT.
The individual components are integrated into a new machine system from the company Schepers. Since this machine combines high processing quality and speed, it surpasses all current systems for roll structuring. It is probably the first machine in the world to enable complex ultrashort pulsed laser microstructuring of metals at ablation rates of up to 100 mm³/min.
The technology's fields of application extend far into the future: Tools for other “roll-to-roll” processes are on the agenda. Likewise, the multi-beam laser process is suitable for special work steps in battery and hydrogen technology. For this purpose, Fraunhofer ILT has already developed systems with much more numerous, parallel beams. This is all part of a new generation of technology for the production of functional surfaces. “With further power scaling, even larger surfaces can be processed in the future. For example, the wind resistance of aircraft wings and wind turbines could be reduced with suitable surface processing,” Arnold Gillner is certain.
Around 500 guests will attend the award ceremony, which was not allowed to take place last year due to the Corona pandemic. The Berthold Leibinger Stiftung prize has been awarded every two years since 2000 for outstanding research and development on the application or generation of laser light. The prize goes back to the founder, Professor Berthold Leibinger. He chaired the supervisory boards of the Trumpf Group until 2012 and passed away in October 2018 at the age of 87after a prolonged illness. The prize is endowed with a total of €100,000.
March 18, 2020
At the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, we place the highest priority on the safety and health of our employees, customers and visitors. Hence, in connection with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Fraunhofer ILT has set up a crisis management team and is implementing the guidelines of the German authorities.