April 2013


Many beams make light work

Ultra-short-pulse (USP) laser processing of microstructures, many times faster than nanosecond pulsed laser systems, has been achieved with new optics developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT.

Whether for lithographic masks, microsieves or functional surfaces for components or tools that are subject to high tribological stresses, an increasing number of applications require a micro-structured surface – and over an ever-larger area. Nanosecond pulsed lasers are used now because of their cost efficiency.


Rough and ready

The surface roughness of a manufactured part can be a critical parameter in industrial production, especially if it’s a moving part like a car engine cylinder or a ball bearing – too rough and it will stick, too smooth and it won’t retain oil. In industry, tactile profilometry, whereby a stylus is dragged over the surface, used to be the method of choice for measuring surface roughness. Now, however, optical profilometry such as confocal microscopy has become more widely used in industry.


Two decades of good service

It is reported that as many as 90 per cent of small businesses fail within the first five years of operation. Very much in that remaining 10 per cent is UK company Laser Support Services, which was founded in 1990 by Grahame Rogers. By that time, Rogers had spent the best part of a decade in the photonics industry, working for Cambridge Lasers UK and Spectra Physics.