New centre for laser manufacturing to open in New York

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Lasers can be used to install new electrical, optical and mechanical properties in materials

A new ‘Centre for Laser Manufacturing’ dedicated to materials modification will be opened in Autumn at Stony Brook University (SBU) in New York, USA.

The new centre will see the university working closely with firms active in laser processing to help address current manufacturing challenges faced in industry.

It will be equipped with an array of equipment donated by IPG Photonics, a Massachusetts-based manufacturer of fibre lasers and amplifiers for diverse industrial applications.

 

 

Dr Alexander Orlov, an associate professor at SBU’s materials science & chemical engineering department, secured the $1.5 million New York State funding for the new centre. 

The establishment of the centre follows Orlov's previous use of laser technology, both within his start-up ‘Fluxion Technology’, which focuses on new battery performance and safety designs, and within SBU’s NanoEnergy Technology Laboratory, which explores new nanostructures and novel catalytic materials for environmental and energy applications.

SBU's Dr Alexander Orlov secured the $1.5 million New York State funding for the new centre. (Image: SBU)

Orlov’s research into the development of novel materials, specifically for use in renewable-energy applications, has earned more than $4.5 million in state and federal grants. 

He explained that novel materials are at the heart of the evolution of laser manufacturing, which sees the high-intensity beams growing beyond their traditional precision-carving functions.

‘If you have a piece of glass or metal, lasers can cut it to a particular shape,' he said. 'This has been around for a bit – but the new area for manufacturing is taking a laser and, instead of destroying material, modifying it. You install new electrical, optical and mechanical properties.’ 

Materials modification using lasers will therefore be the focus of the new centre.

An example of modifying the mechanical properties of a material using a laser is peening, in which a pulsed laser is used to induce deep, high-magnitude compressive residual stresses within the material, which increases its hardness and resistance to cracking and fatigue failure.

Related article: Laser shock peening used to 'heal' cracks during additive manufacturing

Orlov remarked that the new Centre for Laser Manufacturing will ‘capture some of the innovation happening at the university and elsewhere, and help different companies solve their manufacturing problems.’

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