A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation. The term "laser" originated as an acronym for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation". The first laser was built in 1960 by Theodore H. Maiman at Hughes Research Laboratories, based on theoretical work by Charles Hard Townes and Arthur Leonard Schawlow. A laser differs from other sources of light in that it emits light coherently. Spatial coherence allows a laser to be focused to a tight spot, enabling applications such as laser cutting and lithography. Spatial coherence also allows a laser beam to stay narrow over great distances (collimation), enabling applications such as laser pointers. Lasers can also have high temporal coherence, which allows them to emit light with a very narrow spectrum, i.e., they can emit a single color of light. Temporal coherence can be used to produce pulses of light as short as a femtosecond.

  • 2nd Conference on Laser Polishing LaP 2016 in Aachen

    Remelting a thin surface layer is an effective way to laser polish many metals and glasses. The focus of the two-day LaP conference, which will be held at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser technology ILT in Aachen on April 26 and 27, 2016, will be on presentations and practical demonstrations profiling the various techniques.

  • A signal boost for molecular microscopy

    A signal boost for molecular microscopy | Schematic illustration of the experiment. Graphic: MPQ, Laser Spectroscopy Division

    Cavity-enhanced Raman-scattering reveals information on structure and properties of carbon nanotubes. The inherently weak signals are amplified by using special micro cavities as resonator, giving a general boost to Raman spectroscopy as a whole.

  • Auch das Deuteron gibt Rätsel auf: Proton und Deuteron doch kleiner als gedacht?

    Auch das Deuteron gibt Rätsel auf Proton und Deuteron doch kleiner als gedacht picture1 | Karsten Schuhmann und Aldo Antognini an dem Lasersystem, das für die Laserspektroskopie eingesetzt wurde. Foto: Paul Scherrer Institut/Markus Fischer

    Das Deuteron – ein Atomkern aus nur einem Proton und einem Neutron – ist deutlich kleiner als bislang gedacht. Zu diesem Ergebnis kommt eine internationale Forschungsgruppe, die Experimente am Paul Scherrer Institut PSI durchgeführt hat. Dies passt zu einer Studie aus dem Jahr 2010, bei dem dieselbe Forschungsgruppe das Proton vermessen und damit das "Rätsel um den Protonradius" begründet hatte. Nun gibt die Deuterongrösse ein analoges Rätsel auf. Womöglich wird dies zu einer Anpassung der Rydbergkonstante führen. Die Experimente fanden an der weltweit leistungsstärksten Myonenquelle am PSI statt, wo die Forschenden mittels Laserspektroskopie sogenanntes myonisches Deuterium vermassen.

  • Blick in den Anfang des Regenbogens

    Die intensivsten und schnellsten optischen Signale – Blitze aus einem Ultrakurzpulslaser – sind heute das Präzisionswerkzeug der Grundlagenforschung, Automobilindustrie und Augenheilkunde. Ihr Licht unterscheidet sich grundlegend von üblichen, einfarbigen Laserstrahlen: Es besteht aus einem Regenbogenspektrum, und je kürzer der Puls, desto reicher die Farben. Wissenschaftler der Universität Göttingen und der University of California in Los Angeles haben nun erstmals die Entstehung dieses „Regenbogens“ in Echtzeit und mit einer Bildrate von 90 Millionen Schnappschüssen pro Sekunde gefilmt.

  • Carbon Nanotubes Couple Light and Matter

    The formation of exciton-polaritons through strong light-matter coupling is a promising strategy for producing electrically pumped carbon-based lasers. Scientists from Heidelberg University and the University of St Andrews (Scotland) have now, for the first time, demonstrated this strong light-matter coupling in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Figure: Arko Graf (Heidelberg University)

    Scientists from Heidelberg and St Andrews work on the basics of new light sources from organic semiconductors. With their research on nanomaterials for optoelectronics, scientists from Heidelberg University and the University of St Andrews (Scotland) have succeeded for the first time to demonstrate a strong interaction of light and matter in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Such strong light-matter coupling is an important step towards realising new light sources, such as electrically pumped lasers based on organic semiconductors. They would be, amongst other things, important for applications in telecommunications. These results are the outcome of a cooperation between Prof. Dr Jana Zaumseil (Heidelberg) and Prof. Dr Malte Gather (St Andrews), and have been published in “Nature Communications”.

  • Care-O-bot® 4 celebrates its première as shopping assistant

    Paul, a member of the Care-O-bot® 4 robot family, has been greeting customers in Saturn-Markt Ingolstadt since the end of October 2016 and directing them towards their desired products. Source: Saturn

    In January 2015, Fraunhofer IPA presented a prototype of the “Care-O-bot® 4” service robot. The charming helper is now proving its worth in the real world. “Paul” the robot has been greeting customers in Saturn-Markt Ingolstadt since the end of October 2016 and directing them towards their desired products. Care-O-bot 4®, alias Paul, approaches Saturn customers and welcomes them to the store. If they ask him about a certain product, he accompanies the customer to the department and points them in the direction of the relevant shelf. As he indulges in small talk about the weather or another subject, Paul turns out to be a most charming contact partner. However, he prefers to leave actual customer service to his human colleagues.

  • Cost efficient Diode Lasers for Industrial Applications

    The »Brilliant Industrial Diode Lasers« (BRIDLE) project has been finished successfully after 42 months of intense research activities. BRIDLE was made possible by funding from the European Commission. The seven project partners finished their work at the end of February 2016. The project was coordinated by »DILAS Diodenlaser GmbH« (Germany), the project partners are located in Germany, UK, Switzerland, France and Finland. BRIDLE targeted a major increase in the brightness achievable in direct diode laser systems, based on advances in diode laser and beam -combining technology. Throughout, the highest conversion was sought as was compatibility with low cost, volume manufacture.

  • Devarnishing by electron beam

    The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP will be exhibiting its electron beam technology as an alternative beam tool for devarnishing at the parts2clean trade show in Stuttgart, from May 31st to June 2nd, 2016 at the joint booth of the Fraunhofer Cleaning Technology Alliance, Hall 7, Booth B41.

  • Duromere mit dem Laser sprengen: Neue Analytik charakterisiert Harze und Härter

    Duromere konnten sich in den vergangenen Jahrzehnten zu Hochleistungswerkstoffen entwickeln. Zu verdanken haben sie dies hauptsächlich den eingesetzten Harzen und Härtern. Da Duromere nicht löslich sind, existierte bisher keine passende analytische Methode, um an Informationen über die chemische Zusammensetzung dieser zentralen Bausteine zu kommen. Diese Information ist aber essentiell, wenn Schäden analysiert und neue Produkte entwickelt werden sollen. Wissenschaftler des Fraunhofer-Instituts für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF, haben eine Analytik erarbeitet, mit der sie die verwendeten Harze und Härter in Duromeren erstmalig chemisch charakterisieren können.

  • Etching Microstructures with Lasers

    Structuring process for glass using direct laser ablation with ultrafast laser pulses. Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen / Volker Lannert.

    Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

  • First experimental quantum simulation of particle physics phenomena

    First experimental quantum simulation of particle physics phenomena | Physicists have simulated the creation of elementary particle pairs out of the vacuum by using a quantum computer. IQOQI/Harald Ritsch

    Physicists in Innsbruck have realized the first quantum simulation of lattice gauge theories, building a bridge between high-energy theory and atomic physics. In the journal Nature, Rainer Blatt‘s and Peter Zoller’s research teams describe how they simulated the creation of elementary particle pairs out of the vacuum by using a quantum computer.

  • First Random Laser Made of Paper-Based Ceramics

    The team used conventional laboratory filter paper as a structural template due to its long fibers and the stable structure. Photo: Institute for Complex Systems /Rome

    Working with physicists from the University of Rome, a team led by Professor Cordt Zollfrank from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) built the first controllable random laser based on cellulose paper in Straubing. The team thereby showed how naturally occurring structures can be adapted for technical applications. Hence, materials no longer need to be artificially outfitted with disordered structures, utilizing naturally occurring ones instead.

  • Flüsterlicht

    Das Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung fördert die Entwicklung eines neuartigen Lasers mit 350.000 Euro

  • formnext 2016: low-cost SLM unit with production costs below 20,000 euros

    Picture 1: Debut at formnext 2016: the new, low-cost SLM unit for 3D printing of stainless steel components is particularly suitable for entry-level users. © Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.

    FH Aachen and the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT are to present a new, low-cost SLM unit for the first time at formnext in Frankfurt am Main from November 15-18, 2016. Developed jointly with the GoetheLab at FH Aachen, the unit is intended primarily for small and medium-sized enterprises for whom expensive selective laser melting technology is not yet economically viable because of the high level of investment required.

  • Greifswalder Forscher dringen mit superauflösendem Mikroskop in zellulären Mikrokosmos ein

    Die Professoren Nicole und Karlhans Endlich am neuen Superresolution-Mikroskop. Foto: Kilian Dorner

    Das Institut für Anatomie und Zellbiologie weiht am Montag, 05.12.2016, mit einem wissenschaftlichen Symposium das erste Superresolution-Mikroskop in Greifswald ein. Das Forschungsmikroskop wurde von der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) und dem Land Mecklenburg-Vorpommern finanziert. Nun können die Greifswalder Wissenschaftler Strukturen bis zu einer Größe von einigen Millionstel Millimetern mittels Laserlicht sichtbar machen.

  • Grüne Laser mit 1 kW Ausgangsleistung im cw-Betrieb für Bearbeitung hochreflektiver Metalle

    Metalle mit hervorragender elektrischer Leitfähigkeit, also Kupfer, Aluminium und Gold, sind für Anwendungen im Bereich Elektromobilität und Leistungselektronik besonders interessant. Wegen ihrer starken Reflektion im infraroten Wellenlängenbereich stellt die Lasermaterialbearbeitung dieser Werkstoffe eine große Herausforderung dar, da die meisten derzeit verfügbaren kontinuierlich strahlenden Hochleistungslaser (cw-Laser) genau in diesem Wellenlängenbereich arbeiten. Das Fraunhofer IWS Dresden kann für die Bearbeitung dieser Werkstoffe nun auf einen neuen „grünen“ Laser zurückgreifen.

  • Hochdynamische Scannerspiegel einfacher ansteuern - Fraunhofer IWS Dresden auf der Hannover-Messe

    Für eine flexible und schnelle Lasermaterialbearbeitung werden, wie bei einer Lasershow, hochdynamische Galvanometerspiegel zur Strahlablenkung verwendet. Diese sollen möglichst hohe Geschwindigkeiten und Beschleunigungen erreichen und schnell ansteuerbar sein. Mit einer speziellen am Fraunhofer IWS Dresden entwickelten Elektronik, dem sogenannten ESL2-100 Modul, ist es möglich, die Galvanometerspiegel direkt aus der Maschinensteuerung heraus anzusteuern. Damit ist eine ganzheitliche Vernetzung zur Hauptsteuerung möglich, die Ansteuerung wird deutlich vereinfacht. Zudem kann eine Vielzahl von Scannerspiegeln gleichzeitig zur Realisierung eines Laserprozesses verwendet werden.

  • Hochschule Koblenz entwickelt neues Laserverfahren

    Hochschule Koblenz entwickelt neues Laserverfahren zur besseren Prognose der Lebenserwartung von Brücken und Parkhäusern

  • InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

    “Throwing light into the process”: Determination of chemical parameters by optical measurement through a vessel wall. Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.

    Optical process analytics – this fast and non-contact method of measuring chemical and physical parameters provides high-density information without the need to take samples. What’s more, it can be shrunk to a far smaller size and is easy to integrate into existing process lines. From its location in Aachen, Germany, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology led a consortium to analyze the future potential of this technique in cooperation with BAM and RWTH Aachen University. The purpose of the study, entitled “Inline process analytics with light – InLight” was to develop a technology roadmap and a detailed white paper that will be presented to a wider public in early 2017.

  • Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

    Selective laser melting makes it possible to manufacture highly complex geometries made of magnesium and magnesium alloys in a flexible and precise way. LZH

    Smallest structures, complex parts or individual implants – due to its flexibility additive manufacturing has a high potential for use in modern production technology. Therefore, this topic is perfectly suited for the ”Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing” that is organized by NiedersachsenMetall and the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) to transfer the latest research and development results to industrial application. On November 09th, 2016, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are invited to come to the LZH to inform themselves about laser-based additive manufacturing.