Glass Processing

Our Service

Using ultrashort pulsed laser radiation, transparent materials such as glasses, crystals or ceramics can be ablated, cut, drilled or structured with high precision for a variety of applications. By selectively ablating glass surfaces, for example, markings or scattering centers can be generated for the decoupling of light. Furthermore, material modifications and high-precision structures can be selectively introduced into the volume of transparent materials. Selective laser-induced etching (SLE) offers the possibility of producing any 3D structures and complex components from glass or other materials. In this way, even hollow bodies with complex geometries can be produced in the volume of sapphire, for example, which cannot be produced using conventional methods. This enables the production of complex microfluidics for medical technology, for example. The SLE process is also suitable as a high-precision manufacturing technology for photonic-integrated chips and applications in the field of quantum technologies.

Due to the increasing use of aspheres and free-form optics, for example in lighting or imaging technology, the need for economical manufacturing processes for optics with non-spherical surfaces is growing. The laser ablation and laser polishing of glasses developed at Fraunhofer ILT offers flexible and cost-effective alternatives to conventional methods. Polishing is based on the remelting of a thin surface layer of the workpiece and smoothing of the surface as a result of interfacial tension.

The range of services includes feasibility studies, the development of application-specific laser processes, support in integrating new technologies into industrial manufacturing processes, simulation and modeling, and individual consulting.

Arrangement of micro-holes in thin glass.
© Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.
Arrangement of micro-holes in thin glass.
Chessmen made of fused silica (socket with diameter of 7 mm).
© Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.
Chessmen made of fused silica (socket with diameter of 7 mm).
Laser polished asphere (diameter 60 mm).
© Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.
Laser polished asphere (diameter 60 mm).

Surface structuring and drilling

  • Selective ablation and structuring of surfaces
  • Production of surface channels, e.g. for cell and microfluidic applications
  • Drilling of holes with diameters down to the submicrometer range, e.g. for applications in filter and sieve technology or for coating masks

In-volume structuring

  • Waveguides for optical communication
  • Integrated structures
  • Security markings

Cutting of transparent materials

  • Processing of glass and sapphire

Selective laser-induced etching SLE

  • Fabrication of arbitrary 3D components
  • Structures for 3D microfluidic systems

Contact: Martin Kratz M.Sc.

Telephone: +49 241 8906-581


Laser polishing and ablation

  • Manufacturing of form and polishing of aspheres and freeform surfaces of glass and fused silica
  • Shape correction by laser beam figuring
  • Laser polishing of micro-/opto-fluidics

Contact: Dr. Edgar Willenborg

Telephone: +49 241 8906-213


Our brochures offer a quick view onto the service portfolio “Glass Processing“. Find more detailed information in the “project results“ tab.


“Selective Laser Etching of Glass and Sapphire“


“Machining Transparent Materials with Ultrashort Pulsed Laser Radiation“


“Micro and Nano Structuring with Lasers”


“Processing Glass with Laser Radiation“


“Laser Polishing and Ablation for the Production of Glass Optics”


"Laser Ablation for Thin Film Structuring"


“Micro Joining with Laser Radiation“


Laser technology can solve demanding tasks in many different industries. Whether as a tool in automotive production, as measuring equipment in the environmental sector, as a diagnostic or therapeutic instrument in medical technology or as a communication medium in space technology, the laser provides multiple uses with high productivity and high efficiency.

Read up about the innovations of the Fraunhofer ILT in a few selected industries and convince yourself!


Research with us!

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about general topics! Our contact persons are happy to get in touch with you.


Kalupka C.:
Energiedeposition von ultrakurz gepulster Laserstrahlung in Gläsern 1. Auflage - RWTH-2019-04495

Kalupka C., Holtum T., Reininghaus M.:
Ultrafast dynamics of material excitation of dielectrics with ultrashort pulsed Bessel beams
Laser-based Micro-and Nanoprocessing XII, vol. 10520, p. 105200G, International Society for Optics and Photonics, 2018.

Kalupka C., Schmalstieg, M., Reininghaus, M.:
Ultrashort Pulse Processing of Transparent Ceramics: The Role of Electronic and Thermal Damage Mechanisms.
J LASER MICRO NANOEN13 (2), 126-130 (2018)

Boehr, S., Nolis, P., Brenner, A., Reininghaus, M., Lamß, M., Müller, B. :
Laserbasierte Fertigungstechniken und additive Fertigung.
Galvanotechnik 108, 1672-1677 (6 S.) (2017)

Kalupka, C., Großmann, D., Reininghaus, M.:
Evolution of energy deposition during glass cutting with pulsed femtosecond laser radiation
Appl. Phys. A 123 (5), 376 (7 S.) (2017)

Knapp, W., Gillet, V., Courant, B., Aubignat, E., Costil, S., Langlade, C.:
Enhancement of low pressure cold sprayed copper coating adhesion by laser texturing on aluminium substrates
Proc. SPIE 10097, 100970P (13 S.) (2017)

Grossmann, D., Reininghaus, M., Kalupka, C., Kumkar, M., Poprawe, R.:
Transverse pump-probe microscopy of moving breakdown, filamentation and self-organized absorption in alkali aluminosilicate glass using ultrashort pulse laser
Opt. Expr. 24 (20), 23221-23231 (2016)

Pütsch, O., Temmler, A., Stollenwerk, J., Willenborg, E., Loosen, P.:
Active optical system for advanced 3D surface structuring by laser remelting
Proceedings of SPIE 9356 (10 S.) (2015)

Jauer, L., Leonards, H.:
3D-Druck und Biofabrikation
RWTH-Themen (1), 42-45 (2014)

Gottmann, J., Hermans, M., Ortmann, J.: 
Microcutting and hollow 3D microstructures in glasses by In-volume Selective Laser-induced Etiching (ISLE)
J. Laser Micro/Nanoneng. 8 (1), 15-18 (2013)

Schaefer, D., Gottmann, J., Hermans, M., Ortmann, J., Kelbassa, I.:
High speed micro scanner for 3D in-volume laser micro-processing
Laser-based Micro- and Nanopackaging and Assembly VII.
Proc. SPIE 8608, (6 S.) (2013)

Schaefer, D., Schnitzler, D., Kelbassa, I.:
Fundamental processes of refractive index modifications during femtosecond laser waveguide writing
Advanced Fabrication Technologies for Micro/Nano Optics and Photonics VI, Proc. SPIE 8613, X1-7, (2013)

Our services cover a wide range of topics. Related topics to glass processing and further research and development focuses can be found under the following links.