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EUROPEAN ESRs NETWORK ON SHORT PULSED LASER MICRO/NANOSTRUCTURING OF SURFACES

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - LASER4FUN (EUROPEAN ESRs NETWORK ON SHORT PULSED LASER MICRO/NANOSTRUCTURING OF SURFACES)

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2019-08-31

Today, industrial markets demand highly added value products offering new features at a low-cost. Bio-inspired surface structures, containing features at the nanometer/micrometer scales, offer significant commercial potential for the creation of functionalized surfaces. To this extent, technologies to modify surfaces instead of creating composites or applying coatings on surfaces can offer new industrial opportunities. The aim of the project was to structure surfaces embedding properties for industrial applications. The advantage for society behind those innovations will be the opportunity to find new properties (non-possible nowadays) in industrial products thanks to a cheap and environmental friendly method to produce new patterns/structures on material surfaces.
The LASER4FUN research programme resulted in insights and applications beyond the current state of the art through the development of new surface micro/nano-structuring/patterning methods by using emerging short pulsed and ultra-short pulsed laser technologies—i.e.Laser-Induced Periodic Surface Structures (LIPSS), Direct Laser Interference Patterning (DLIP), Direct Laser Writing (DLW) and two hybrid technologies. The research was focused on the fundamentals of the interaction of laser energy with several materials (metals, semiconductors, polymers, glasses and advanced materials). New laser-induced surface textures, and parameters to control these, were developed. Optimized laser-induced surface textures were developed for various surface functionalities for applications in the fields of e.g. tribology, aesthetics and wettability. These functionalities (will) find their application in e.g. reduced ice accretion on helicopters, less friction and therefore less wear and energy consumption in car parts, micro-fluidic medical devices in sapphire, self-cleaning surfaces, anti-bacterial surfaces of medical devices of kitchen appliances, improved osseointegration of bone implants, anti-counterfeiting patterns of valuable parts or documents, to name a few. In addition, methods, strategies and tools to allow production of these surface textured at high industrial production rates were developed.
The project created an International Training Network (ITN) for Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in this exciting field of laser-material processing, consisting of 14 doctoral students recruited by 10 international partners with wide experience in the field: 3 academic partners: Polytechnic University of Madrid (Spain), University of Birmingham (UK) and University of Twente (Netherlands); 4 research centers: Alphanov (France), Consiglio Nazionale delle Richerche (Italy), Fraunhofer Institute (Germany) and IPF-Leibniz-Institute fur Polymerforschung Dresden (Germany); 3 industrial partners: Robert Bosch (Germany), Airbus (Germany), BSH Home Appliances (Spain). This consortium have provided support for the ESRs who were enrolled during the first year of the project and have been working for 36 months at least on their doctoral programmes. The close cooperation among multidisciplinary partners have fostered knowledge transfer to cross the Death Valley between science and the markets. Additionally, their participation in the LASER4FUN project have impacted highly the ESRs employability to knowledge-intensive companies/institutes that are the key for EU welfare.
During the project duration more than 50 publications were prepared, more than 50 dissemination events (targeting both academica, industry and the general public) took place and 27 deliverables were submitted.
LASER4FUN project (EUROPEAN ESRs NETWORK ON SHORT PULSED LASER MICRO/NANOSTRUCTURING OF SURFACES) started on 1st September 2015, and finished on 31st August 2019.
During the first period the project consortium was focused on the recruitment phase. By May 2016, M8 of the project, all the Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) were integrated into their hosting organization for the start of their PhD research.
On 31st August 2017, the project reached the median point, and fully deploying the ESRs efforts on the research activities. Target applications of the surface patterning and functional properties were completely defined and prioritized at M12. Since then, the ESRs worked together with their Supervisors to advance the current state of the art and thus to achieve promising results with first structures and samples. Characterization tasks had also advanced, providing first feedback to the researchers working on tasks related to laser processing.
Furthermore, more than 110 individual technical training activities and 13 transferable skills trainings were completed, including three Laser4Fun summer schools, as well as 26 secondments (hosting and training periods at other partners’ facilities). The network between partners and researchers was, and still is, fully functional. On top of this 5 general project meetings took place during the four years.
Regarding dissemination, the results of the projects were presented/transferred at over 50 events targeting academia, industry and the general public. Further, several press releases, newsletters and project presentations were published. With respect to scientific dissemination, almost 60 papers are published and about 8 are still under preparation.
From the management point of view, all the planned deliverables (27) and milestones (7) were completed. Project finished successfully according to the targets set for the training network and technical results.
Since the start of the project in 2015, the LASER4FUN project went beyond the state-of-the art in surface functionalization, developing new methods for surface structuring/patterning by using emerging short/ultra-short pulsed laser technologies aiming at new surface functionalities like tribology, aesthetics and wettability on several materials.
Study of laser-surface structuring using LIPSS, DLIP, DLW and hybrid technologies resulted in new methods for material surface transformation which improved both resolution and surface pattern quality on several materials. As another fundamental part of the research network, the characterization research was performed in order to understand the effects of the surface structures in different application fields, such as tribology and wettability.
The created surface structures at micrometer/nanometer scale will let industries to achieve new properties which impact positively on the society, including but not limited to ice accretion on helicopters, less friction and therefore less wear and energy consumption in car parts, micro-fluidic medical devices in sapphire, self-cleaning surfaces, anti-bacterial surfaces of medical devices of kitchen appliances, improved osseointegration of bone implants, anti-counterfeiting patterns of valuable parts or documents, to name a few. In addition, methods, strategies and tools to allow production of these surface textured at high industrial production rates were developed.
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LASER4FUN project logo
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Starting point: Surface of colocasia leaf (left) Mimicking laser surface on stainless steel (right)
Laser Technology platforms and surface functionalities/properties covered by LASER4FUN project
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