A team of researchers and technicians at the Institut für Strahlwerkzeuge (IFSW) has taken materials processing with ultra-short laser pulses to a new dimension by cutting carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) with 8 ps short laser pulses at an average power of up to 1.4 kW and record pulse energies of up to 4.5 mJ. The high pulse energies are to be favored over high repetition rates in many applications, especially for processing of CFRP.
As already reported in November 2013, the new ultrafast laser was developed at the IFSW in cooperation with Trumpf Laser GmbH within a project supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). In comparison to the usual powers applied for state of the art materials processing with ultra-short laser pulses the new powerful ultrafast laser of the IFSW enables high-quality machining with unprecedented productivity. This success is of particular importance for the IFSW as it excellently demonstrates how fruitful the close cooperation between laser developers (Jan-Philipp Negel and André Löscher) and process developers (Christian Freitag and Margit Wiedenmann) can be. More details on the new laser and its applications in materials processing will also be presented at the Stuttgart Laser Technology Forum (SLT 2014) on 24 and 25 June 2014.