Laser-Connect connects fundamental studies of ultrafast laser matter interactions with demand-driven high volume electronics production. The project is highly relevant to the development of new intelligent laser-based manufacturing systems in Europe targeting touch panel interactive screens, high density circuit boards for hand-held electronics, and other photovoltaic technologies. The project brings together a recently established high growth rate UK company engaged in laser systems development, its sister company engaged in system integration in Asia, and an Irish academic research group engaged in laser material ambient interactions. The objectives of the project are to generate improved understanding of laser-material interactions, develop new concepts in optical design and process control, and to demonstrate new processes for emerging thin film electronic materials and devices. The technical challenges of creating channels in thin film coatings on glass and flexible organic substrates, cutting tracks and drilling vias in high density multi-layer circuit boards, and etching isolation tracks for photovoltaics, over large areas, at high speed, with micron precision, are appreciable. The partners are committed to realising these goals by extensive knowledge transfer. Laser-Connect proposes 54 intersectoral fellowship months, with 40% involving early stage, 38% involving experienced and 22% involving more experienced researchers. Three researchers will be recruited to prepare and enhance impact of secondments. In addition to normal dissemination, the partners will communicate results at two regional workshops in years 2 and 4.
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