Laser processing with ultra-short pulse lasers is generally known for very low thermal influence. There are huge potential applications of ultra-short pulse lasers in variety of industries, like display, printing, electronics, aerospace and the automotive. So far, we have accomplished the micromachining of smaller parts. A complete success for ultrashort pulsed lasers would be the machining of macro parts.
To meet high productivity and accuracy requirements of industrial applications, we need firstly high-power / high energy laser sources. The actual laser sources are now rugged, stable, and available within a wide spectrum of parameters. Several amplifier systems have been shown to be capable of kilowatt average power, Megahertz-repetition rates, burst modes, and single pulse options.
Secondly, optical components like fast pulse picker, isolator, modulator, optical material are of essential importance for reliable use of high power and high energy ultra-short pulse lasers.
One other key for success is the understanding, monitoring and controlling process. Laser safety is an aspect which has to be seriously addressed.
To get the power/energy on the workpiece will further requires systems engineering. Beam handling and delivery are main challenges. For exhaustively use of high power ultra-short pulse lasers new approaches and strategies and adequate beam handling technology are indispensable. Fibre delivery will simplify process integration dramatically.
For transferring micro precision to macro parts there is no generally applicable solution. Instead, solutions will be tailored and application specific. Understanding of the process fundamentals and development of suitable processing strategy are of essential importance.
In this talk we will present among other compact, reliable and affordable ultra-short pulse lasers. Furthermore, we will discuss recent efforts and challenges in application and in components of high productivity laser systems and beam handling technologies.