Research topic: solar energy/applied laser technology
Research group: Faculty of Engineering Technology/Laser Technology
People involved: professor Bert Huis in ‘t Veld
The group Applied Laser Technology aims at development and application of laser-material processing techniques. The laser material interaction is studied and processes, such as laser welding and cladding are improved by sensoring and automation. New processes are developed for micromachining using ultra short pulses in the femto and pico second range. Processes are developed for industrial applications. The group has two large, state-of-the-art labs where research is done. Staff, technicians and Master students work jointly in these labs. MICRO-LAB This clean-room (WH.117) hosts several sources for ultra-short laser pulses that are used for laser micromachining. It also hosts the required high speed and accurate mechatronic systems and product manipulators, to allow accurate machining at high speed. MACRO-LAB The macro-lab (WH.120) houses several robots, manipulators, stages and other mechatronic systems. Some of these are combined with a 4kW laser source, for application development. This lab also hosts (not shown) the setups for Vibration control, Dynamic Balancing Control of robots and laser.
For students interested in applied laser technology a special course is the main entry to this field of engineering science. Besides an introduction to laser sources, this course focuses on the use, advantages and benefits of lasers as a production tool. Not only, processing, on micro- and nano scale are discussed, but also the real-time control of processes like laser-cutting, -welding and surface treatment. Practical assignments, with hands-on experiments with high-power laser equipment, are part of the course.
A good understanding of laser materials interactions is beneficial for products and surfaces with special properties and functionality. This holds especially for solar cell applications. Laser processing is used for higher efficiency and lower production costs of solar cells. Processes used are: drilling, scribing, texturing, doping, grooving, cutting, removal of oxides, edge isolation.