The objective of this instrument development project is to build an integrated state-of-the-art laser micro-machining and surface engineering system. This instrument integrates a pico-second laser with the technology of numerical-controlled precision machining and high-speed and high-sensitivity instrumentation. The laser is used to pattern or texture submicron to micron feature sizes onto three dimensional arbitrary surfaces. The project involves collaborative research among investigators in mechanical engineering, materials science and manufacturing.
New system components are being added which will enable (i) rapid physical and chemical texturing of micron-sized features onto arbitrary three-dimensional object surfaces with sub-nanometer precision, (ii) direct visual and spectroscopic observation of the workpiece surface and the laser plume, (iii) temperature and strain measurements of the workpiece at high temporal and spatial resolution, and (iv) post-texturing surface measurement.
Successful development of the system will open new opportunities for fundamental studies in understanding how surface (physical and chemical) texture of different length scales may be applied in a number of different areas. A number of projects are underway both for basic research and industrial applications, some of which are described here.