Ultrafast laser micro-processing for new materials and smart sensing
Femtosecond and picoseconds fiber laser technology allows to achieve precise microstructuring of any material without collateral damage to the surroundings. Our research focuses on the study of light-matter interaction at extremely short time scales and on the development of smart sensors to understand and control the laser process.
Our main research activities are focused on micromachining processes for the manufacturing of photonic and mechatronic components. In particular, laser based micromachining of metals like surface-patterning, drilling, milling and engraving are routinely investigated to study the effect of high repetition rate and high average power on the morphology of the microstructures. The understanding of processes in terms of modeling, as well as quality monitoring and beam control is also covered. Furthermore, online monitoring of the advancement of the ablation front with submicrometer resolution is performed using a compact laser ablation sensor based on the self-mixing interferometry which provides useful information on the ablation rate mechanisms. This technique has been developed and integrated to investigate ultrafast laser ablation processes onto opaque metallic substrates. It was proven successful using off-the-shelf metal plates, without requiring any sample preparation, and can be used on nonmetallic materials as well. Finally, the synthesis of nanoparticles by laser ablation of different materials exposed to the radiation of intense short laser pulses is object of experimental investigations. In particular, the irradiation of metals with fs and ps laser pulsed has shown to be an efficient tool to produce particles having sizes in the range of few nanometers with unique chemical and physical properties.