Researchers at the Laser Centre at the University of Applied Sciences Münster (LFM) in Germany together with micro-optics experts at Limo Lissotschenko Mikrooptik, have demonstrated high-brightness diode laser cutting of metals as part of a joint project BRILAMET (brilliant high-power diode lasers for metal processing).
A 2.5kW diode laser module, with optical interconnection using micro-optics from Limo, was shown to cut 6mm thick stainless steel (1.4301) at 1.1m/min and 6mm thick mild steel (1.0038) at 2m/min. In both cases, a very good cutting quality was achieved with a negligible dross on the kerf (<30µm).
The laser light was fed via optical fibre (core diameter 400µm) to a specially designed processing head from Limo (focal length of 120mm). The metal processing was performed on an industrial CNC machining facility.
The researchers plan to increase the optical output power of the laser up to 4kW while maintaining high brightness.