Two micron laser source for lightweight materials and medical sector
TWOMICRO – Two micron laser source for light weight materials and medical sectorThe assessment aims to provide a two micron laser source with power and beam profile stability. The required achievement is to feed 200 Watts of stable power into a 125 µm fibre. This performance will be validated against the reproducibility of scribed grooves and other processes.
TWOMICRO aims to develop laser sources at a wavelength which is rarely commercially available. The demand for such laser sources with a high potential market volume comes not only from cutting applications but arises from the suitability to process organic material. Therefore, offering lasers with output wavelengths in the 2 µm range promises a high sales potential helping the medical sector to develop new applications and to provide new services to humans.
With respect to cutting, the two-micron sources enable smaller focus diameters compared to conventional CO2 lasers, which minimise groove widths as well as the cutting scrap. Exploitation with respect to minimised cutting scrap, sharper cutting edges and easy three dimensional processing of complicated polymer profiles will be enabled. The need for such laser sources directly implies a need for characterisation equipment, which is also covered by TWOMICRO.
So far, TWOMICRO can report the successful implementation of collimator for the 2µm range at power ratings in excess of 150 Watts. A first laser source with an emission spectrum centered at 1983.3 nm has been demonstrated at an average output power of 52.6 W.
A camera-based beam measurement device with an optic for the target waveband has been developed. The system allows broader measurements. For the power combination of several laser sources a simulation was developed to model the feed of seven sources into one distinct signal fiber. The model considers a tapered section of the signal fibers bonded to a multimode fiber with variable length. Due to varied fusion parameters it was possible to successfully develop a tapered fiber bundle without air inclusions. The developed combiner had a transmission higher than 74 % in the wavelength range between 1.5 μm and 2 μm for each fiber in the bundle. Initial processing experiments were conducted with the laser prototype on polymer plates. The processed material showed maceration while the laser was emitting continuously, generating complex structures on plane polymer plates. Supplier LISA will offer its laser system with a price in the range of 10.000 €, expecting to sell up to 200 laser systems a year with an expected volume of sales exceeding 10 million € (70 % market share). Supplier PRIMES expects a high demand for its beam propagation measurement in markets like communication, medicine, avionics and other transportation trends. End-user TROTEC will integrate 2 μm laser sources to its material processing machines, resulting in an advanced light source for processing of organic materials in addition to CO2 Lasers, thus providing a more precise material processing.