System- and process engineering for of large area structuring with high performance picosecond lasers

PIKOFLAT EyecatcherLaser ablation processes, which allow to produce three dimensional microstructures by evaporation or melting of material due to a laminar scanning of the materials surface, are characterized by a maximum of flexibility and applicability for various materials. However, this technology has been itself established only for small ablation volumes as it is for example common in microtool engineering or in printing technology.

Hence, the aim of the project ”Pikoflat“ is to utilize the laser ablation technology also for the structuring of large scale components consisting of different materials by developing a high performance picosecond laser in the power range up to 400W. Together with a new machine- and process technology the following processing parameters shall be achieved:

  • ablation rate > 20 mm³/min
  • geometric resolution < 10µm
  • precision of ablation< 2µm
  • processing of different materials like steel, ceramics, etc.

In order to achieve those parameters, basic investigations and the set up of a demonstration system for a picosecond-laser source in the power range up to 400 W at repetition rates up to 20 MHz will be carried out within the framework of the project. Besides the laser technology the necessary technical components for high precision ablation will be examined and qualified. Here, the focus mainly lies on an ultrafast scanning technology, in order to allocate the high repetitive laser pulses on the work piece with high precision. Associated with this are software-related solutions for a sequential processing of large work pieces with micro scale structures. Fundamental work on laser ablation at ultrashort pulses and high repetition rates is performed to support the technical investgations on lasers and scanners. Above all new ablation- and scan strategies will be examined in this context, in order to achieve the desired accuracy and ablation rates.

The activities to the laser sources and the process engineering are incorporated in a master plan of a process- and machinery technology for the large area ablation with picosecond radiation. On the basis of two demonstrator machines for roll structuring and for tool manufacturing, the established consortium will qualify the laser system as well as the components and software for the industry. With these concepts for manufacturing technology, the project plans to exemplarily address the following market segments:

  • Structuring of injection molding instruments for the generation of decorative and haptic surfaces
  • Structuring of large area, three-dimensional casting instruments, e.g. forming dies for plastic assemblies
  • Structuring of steel embossing rolls


Dr. Arnold Gillner
Fraunhofer-Institute for Laser Technology
Steinbachstr. 15
D-52074 Aachen
Tel. +49 (241) 8906-148
Fax +49 (241) 8906-121
e-mail: arnold.gillner@ilt.fraunhofer.de

Project partners

Edgeware GmbH
Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology
Lumera Laser GmbH
Sauer Lasertech GmbH
Saueressig GmbH & Co. KG
Schepers GmbH