The University of Southampton

High-Precision Laser-Based Manufacturing

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PhD Projects:

Beam-Shaping for High-Precision High-Speed Laser-Based Manufacturing

Supervisors: Dr Ben Mills 
Co-Supervisor: Dan Heath 

Lasers have fundamentally transformed manufacturing in the past decades, and they are now routinely used for the machining of almost all size scales from micro-scale medical devices to battleships. However, the laser beam shape is generally not changed during machining.

Through use of a digital micromirror device (DMD), which we use as a spatial light modulator, we are able to change the spatial intensity profile and energy of every single laser pulse, for laser repetition rates up to 30 kHz. By imaging each shaped pulse onto a target sample, we are able to rapidly fabricate extremely precise structures over cm-squared regions, hence enabling new paradigms in high-precision high-speed laser-based manufacturing.

We are developing new methods for light manipulation, such as adaptive algorithms based on field propagation, for applications for both additive and subtractive manufacturing, including the development of a subwavelength-resolution 3D laser-printer, substrates that control differentiation pathways of stem-cells for regenerative medicine, and bespoke sensors for aerospace and power generation.

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