The University of Southampton

Advanced Laser Laboratory

The Advanced Laser Laboratory has been set up in collaboration with SPI Lasers and Trumpf GmbH.

PhD Projects:

The development of novel industrial fibre lasers with tailored beam shapes

Supervisor: Professor Michalis N. Zervas
Co-supervisor: Dr Jonathan Price

This project aims to develop multi-functional disruptive laser-light manufacturing tools and techniques, to increase manufacturing competitiveness. It will use a recently developed approach to create a robust, high power, fibre amplifier platform supporting shaped output beam profiles with agility provided by software-driven control.

Modern manufacturing has been revolutionised by photonics. Lasers weld cars, drill holes in turbine blades, fabricate 3D parts, mark metals and plastics, and are central to many products, such as solar panels and smart phones. Over the last decade, fibre lasers (an ORC invention), in particular, have shown spectacular progress. However, ever-more complex beams are be needed to continue this revolution. For example, an increase in cutting efficiency by using radially-polarized beams. The challenge remains how to convert this research result into an industrial process as that requires a new, robust, and fully integrated laser tool.

The successful student will learn how to develop advanced fibre technology, including all necessary optical and imaging techniques. They will work in an interdisciplinary environment in collaboration with colleagues from the fibre fabrication area through to those developing extremely high power lasers. It will support the applicant to develop into a manufacturing research leader of the future.

High Power Fibre Laser Beam Shaping Techniques for Advanced Manufacturing Applications

Supervisor: Professor Michalis N. Zervas
Co-supervisor: Dr C.Codemard

It has been apparent so far that single-mode high power fibre lasers (HPFLs) in their current stage (stage I) of development already provide enough “raw” power not only to serve existing but also to enable new industrial applications.    This leads then inevitably to the question:  What Next???

Fibre technology, the most controllable, low-loss waveguiding technology, offers a number of different attributes, which so far have been largely unexplored.  These include spatial features, in the form of well-defined and stable modes, wide spectral characteristics accessible with different dopants and nonlinearities and plurality of polarisation states.  It is then obvious that fibre technology uniquely offers the possibility to not only efficiently generate, but also widely and accurately manipulate and seamlessly deliver photons remotely to the workpiece. 

This project will provide the unique opportunity to work on the next generation of HPFL development, where “smart photon engines” can be combined with “smart photon pipes”, to build the ultimate manufacturing tools with added functionality and reconfigurability, advanced laser & process monitoring capabilities, meeting the requirements of the emerging digital manufacturing era.   The new disruptive features are expected to augment the industrial and other applications parameter space, increasing further the fibre laser market penetration. 

The PhD programme will focus on different fast beam shaping and output control enabling fast on-the-fly beam shape reconfigurability and agility to address new advanced marking and micromachining applications.   Specially designed fibres will be investigated to provide complex multi-beam shapes tailored to particular processes, such as advanced burr-free cutting, replacing cumbersome and expensive bulk optics or external spatial light modulators. 

The project gives the opportunity to work closely with SPI Lasers plc, a leading FL manufacturer that has span out the ORC.  The successful candidate will be offered a CASE studentship salary top-up.

Please contact Prof Michalis N. Zervas for further information.

High Power Fibre Laser Dynamics

Supervisor: Professor Michalis N. Zervas
Co-supervisor: Dr C.Codemard

High performance, high power fibre lasers (FLs) are now well established as an extremely robust and reliable photon engine enabling a growing and diverse number of demanding industrial and medical applications.  Compared to rival technologies, such as CO2, LPSS, DPSS and disk lasers, FLs offer a number of unique characteristics that have resulted in their wide adoption in an increasing number of industrial sectors.  In addition to enhancing existing applications, FLs have been very successful in enabling novel applications and thus continuing to increase their market share. 

To continue this trend and further increase the FL functionality and stability, this project will consider depth the main issues related to power scaling in fibre lasers, such as suitable pumping schemes and pump requirements, fibre designs, limiting non-linear effects such as SRS and SBS).  Emphasis will be placed particularly on the study of dynamic effects abd transverse modal instabilities related to output power stability of various advanced FL systems currently used in industry. 

The project comprises theoretical analysis and understanding of the output power dynamics of various practical FL systems, as well as, experimental investigation of the effects.  The project gives the opportunity to work closely with SPI Lasers plc, a leading FL manufacturer that has span out the ORC. 

Please contact Prof Michalis N. Zervas for further information.

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