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Laser welding in the right light
Date:2/2/2011

arch of wavelength ranges within which plastic absorbs laser radiation. Then the scientists tested and perfected the laser systems to match: systems that emit light of the right wavelengths. "Before, you didn't have the right light source," Olowinsky adds. "It was only during the past few years that laser sources have been developed that emit light in these wavelength ranges." To deliver the light energy to the joining level to the seam along the border between the two transparent plastics the experts at ILT came up with special lens systems. These systems focus the beam so that the highest energy density occurs at the beam waist where the beam diameter is the smallest so that the highest temperature is delivered precisely to the joining level.

The researchers' most promising results were achieved at a wavelength of around 1700 nanometers. "This is the peak welding-efficiency range," Olowinsky summarizes. Nevertheless, the researchers are also continuing work on the EU Commission-sponsored "PolyBright" project (www.polybright.eu) in search of the combination of the right absorption bands with the matching light sources. "The result has to be the most cost-effective laser system possible that can execute high-precision welding tasks at the highest possible speed."

Medical technology and bioanalytics in particular are among the main beneficiaries of the new welding process: The magic word is "lab on a chip." This refers to automatic, miniature-sized laboratory analysis on the surface of a chip. Whether fluids, protein or DNA analyses the spectrum of applications is a broad one.


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Contact: Dr. Alexander Olowinsky
alexander.olowinsky@ilt.fraunhofer.de
49-241-890-6491
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert

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