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Laser machine to enable mass-production of functionalised surfaces for consumer market

A laser machine capable of producing large-area functionalised surfaces at high-throughput is being developed for the domestic appliance market within a collaborative European research project.

The three-year ‘LAMpAS’ project, which began earlier this year in January, has been funded €5.1m under Horizon 2020 in a Public-Private Partnership with Photonics21. 

The project will combine high-average-power ultrafast lasers, direct laser interference patterning and polygon scanner processing to enable the mass-production of micro- and nanostructures on a range of surfaces.

These structures, inspired by those found in nature on the leaves of the lotus flower or the wings of a butterfly, will provide antibacterial and self-cleaning properties, in addition to friction reduction, optical security functions and decorative effects.

‘The results envisioned in LAMpAS will make possible the production of a new generation of electrical appliance as well as food packaging systems, by adding new functionalities to the surfaces of daily used devices,’ commented project coordinator Professor Andrés Lasagni, of TU Dresden. ‘We are very pleased to bring together the main industrial players for developing this new laser-based system, for large-volume production. We are sure that the results will be ground-breaking for various industries.'

The LAMpAS project kick-off meeting in January. (Image: LAMpAS project)

In addition to TU Dresden, partners of the LAMpAS project include: Trumpf, Lasea, Bosch, BSH Hausgeräte GmbH, Next Scan Technology, New Infrared Technologies (NIT), and the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC).

The laser machine under development will incorporate advances in high-power ultra-short pulsed lasers, advanced scanning techniques for new beam delivery concepts, interference patterning optics, and a real-time monitoring system.

Producing the functionalised surfaces using laser processing, rather than with coatings, will not only increase the durability of the surfaces, but will also be a more environmentally friendly process.

Top image: Laser machined metal surface with self-cleaning properties. The distance between the individual structural elements (distance ‘peak’ to ‘peak’) is approximately 10µm. In comparison, a human hair has a diameter of 50-80µm. (Credit: LAMpAS).

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