Laser processing of glass materials has a high growth potential
At the workshop „Laser Processing of Glass Materials“ more than 70 researchers, users and manufacturers met to exchange ideas on current developments and trends.
Glass processing using the laser is state-of-the-art in many industrial areas, and as in the past, it has a high potential for further technology fields, for example display manufacturing for cell phones, where thinner hardened glass needs to be precisely cut without damaging it.
Ultrashort pulse lasers (USP) are a promising tool for this application. USP lasers already provide high-quality cutting, at cutting speeds of over 500 mm/s. Scientists and manufacturers are presently working intensively on increasing processing speeds, and simultaneously guaranteeing a high processing quality for thinner and thinner glass. If they can meet the increasing requirements being placed on processing display glass and qualifying the processes, including for example sapphire glass materials, glass processing using lasers could further expand on the world market for cell phones.
Processes for laser structuring and drilling of glass materials for façade construction and interior design are also interesting. Flat glass is used as a design element, or as a functionalized, anti-slip surface for bathrooms. Scientists are presently facing the challenge of developing innovative, high power lasers, which are more economical for processing large areas of flat glass.
Apart from laser-based cutting processes, glass welding with and without filler material is growing in importance. After the requirements placed on the strength of laser welded seams for quartz and borosilicate glass could be achieved, and the process rates could be shortened, the scientists are now working on optimizing the powder use rates, on avoiding thermal post-processing and on extending the welding processes to 3-D glass components. This should also greatly expand the application potential.
In summary, the lectures and discussions of the workshop showed that laser processing of glass materials still has a great potential.
Laser Zentrum Hannover