Associated Chairs at RWTH Aachen University

The RWTH Aachen University Chairs for Laser Technology LLT, the Technology of Optical Systems TOS and Digital Additive Production DAP as well as Nonlinear Dynamics of Laser Processing NLD represent an outstanding cluster of expertise in the field of optical technologies. This permits supercritical treatment of basic and application-related research topics. The close cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT not only permits industrial contract research on the basis of sound fundamental knowledge, but also provides new stimuli for the advanced development of optical methods, components and systems. The synergy of infrastructure and know-how is put to active use under a single roof.

This structure particularly benefits up-and-coming young scientists and engineers. Knowledge of current industrial and scientific requirements in the optical technologies flows directly into the planning of the curriculum. Furthermore, undergraduates and postgraduate students can put their theoretical knowledge into practice through project work at the chairs and at Fraunhofer ILT. University courses are drawn up jointly as well. Teaching, research and innovation – those are the bricks with which the four university departments  and Fraunhofer ILT are building the future.

Chair for Laser Technology LLT

The RWTH Aachen University Chair for Laser Technology has been engaged in basic and application-oriented research and development in the fields of laser measurement technology, development of beam sources, laser material processing as well as digital photonic production since 1985.

A great part of the research activities is carried out in the framework of some big projects as e.g. the Cluster of Excellence »Integrative Production Technology for High-Wage Countries«, the BMBF Digital Photonic Production Research Campus and the Collaborative Research Center SFB 1120 »Precision Melt Engineering«. Furthermore, the Chair for Laser Technology is coordinator of the »Research Center for Digital Photonic Production«.

Chair for Technology of Optical Systems TOS

By establishing the Chair for Technology of Optical Systems  in 2004, RWTH Aachen accorded recognition to the  increasingly central role of highly developed optical systems  in manufacturing, the IT industries and the life sciences. Research activities focus on the development and integration of optical components and systems for laser beam sources  and laser devices.

Highly corrected focusing systems for a high laser output, beam homogenization facilities and innovative beam shaping systems are all key components of laser systems used in production engineering. The performance of fiber lasers and diode-pumped solid state lasers, for instance, is determined by optical coupling and pump light homogenizers. Free-form optics for innovative laser beam shaping are yet another topic of research. In the area of high-power diode lasers, micro-  and macro-optical components are developed and combined to form complete systems. In addition, assembly techniques are optimized.

Chair for Digital Additive Production DAP

The Chair for Digital Additive Production DAP together with industrial and scientific partners, researches the fundamental interrelationships of Additive Manufacturing (AM) from construction design to supply chains, production and component handling all the way to the operational properties of additively manufactured components. In addition, they focus their developments on accompanying processes such as design, quality management, mapping of the entire digital process chain and factory planning. Within the framework of basic, composite and industrial projects from a variety of industries such as automotive, aerospace, turbomachinery, life sciences, electronics, tool and mold making, as well as close cooperation with non-university research institutes, DAP has extensive expertise both in terms of software and hardware.

In addition to developing existing AM processes as well as existing machine and system technology, DAP focuses an essential part of its work on software-driven end-to-end processes. This way it can harness the advantages of additive processes, for constructing bionic lightweight components, optimizing functions for AM, designing »digital materials« all the way to validating in the real process.

Nonlinear Dynamics of Laser Manufacturing Processes Instruction and Research Department NLD

Founded in 2005, the Nonlinear Dynamics of Laser Processing Instruction and Research Department NLD explores the basic principles of optical technology, with emphasis on modeling and simulation in the fields of application macro welding and cutting, additive manufacturing, precision processing with ultrafast lasers and PDT in dentistry and dermatology.  

Mathematical, physical and experimental methods are being applied and enhanced to investigate technical systems. The application of mathematical models is helping to achieve a better understanding of dynamic interrelationships and to create new process engineering concepts. The results of these analyses are made available to industrial partners in the form of practical applications in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT. 

The main educational objective is to teach a scientific, methodological approach to modeling on the basis of practical examples. Models are derived from the experimental diagnosis of laser manufacturing processes and the numerical calculation of selected model tasks.  

Department of High Power Processes in Production Engineering and Additive Manufacturing at the FH Aachen

At the end of August 2019, Prof. Dr. Andreas Gebhardt retired from the Aachen University of Applied Sciences; he handed over his department »High Power Processes in Production Engineering and Additive Manufacturing« in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics to the long-standing expert for 3D printing, Sebastian Bremen, from Fraunhofer ILT on September 1, 2019. In the summer semester 2016, Sebastian Bremen received his first teaching assignments for laser technology and rapid prototyping at Aachen University of Applied Sciences and has since expanded his expertise in this field.

In 2013, Aachen University of Applied Sciences and the Fraunhofer ILT founded the Aachen Center for 3D Printing to jointly develop the future of additive manufacturing. Fraunhofer ILT and the Aachen University of Applied Sciences renewed this cooperation agreement in early 2019. Together they operate a laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) system, which is currently the world’s largest commercial system for LPBF. Both institutions use this LPBF system to further develop metallic  3D printing. Prof. Bremen continues to head the Aachen Center for 3D Printing, thus continuing to foster the link between  FH Aachen and Fraunhofer ILT.