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Ultrashort pulsed kW-class laser with unprecedented flexible GHz burst operation for high precision high-throughput industrial manufacturing

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - kW-flexiburst (Ultrashort pulsed kW-class laser with unprecedented flexible GHz burst operation for high precision high-throughput industrial manufacturing)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2021-06-30

The next generation of laser systems for material processing needs to deliver higher precision, throughput and, most importantly, an extreme flexibility. Current ultrafast laser technology has demonstrated applicability for enabling high precision micromachining. However current throughput is not efficient enough for widescale industrial manufacturing. The parameters of existing lasers are not flexible enough to consistently work in the optimal conditions necessary to reach the highest precision while using all available laser power. The kW-flexiburst project aims to develop a disruptive laser technology to help overcome this critical barrier, which could enable the next generation of manufacturing in a range of industrial sectors.
To achieve the project goals, kW-flexiburst, which stands for Ultrashort pulsed kW-class laser, will develop a high-power laser delivering bursts of ultra-short pulses with unique features. The system parameters can be arbitrarily adjusted in terms of burst repetition rate, intra-burst repetition rate, number of pulses per burst, pulse duration and relative intensities in the burst while maintaining 1 kW of average power.
During the first year, the consortium has developed a radically new pulse generator concept, which offers the opportunity to work at tunable GHz repetition rates while freely adjusting the burst parameters. This concept has already been implemented in the seed laser system. New designs have been developed to amplify the laser pulses emitted by this seed system. Simulations show that the designs will enable enough amplification to reach 1 kW output power.
The flexible laser performance will be demonstrated in relevant industrial applications, which require high throughput/ high quality laser processing methods and therefore will benefit significantly from the high-average power and the tunable pulses provided by the kW-flexiburst system. The selected applications span a wide range of industrial fields from micro-structuring of metals, ceramics and other dielectrics, drilling of hard substrates and cutting of transparent materials. Each of them carries the potential for significant or even disruptive improvements of the related industrial production process by employing the kW-flexiburst laser technology in combination with the beam delivery concepts and process methods proposed by the project.
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