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LASER 2023: Lasers in manufacturing boosting industrial processes...

28 Jun 2023

...and WLT Award presented for laser process improving lithium battery performance.

by Matthew Peach in Munich

Monday’s Lasers In Manufacturing (“LiM”) Plenary Session – one of the opening sessions of the LASER World of Photonics Congress at the Munich International Congress Center – considered a range of topics, such as ever more precisely controllable processes in laser materials processing, the potentials of beam shaping “on the fly” and the highlights of the wider LiM 2023 conference track.

Session chair Prof. Christoph Leyens, who is director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology (IWS), Dresden, explained that this year’s program covers three main topics: laser material processing at a micro and macro level and additive manufacturing.

He commented, “It is interesting how many presentations there are this time on the subject of process control, meaning easily controllable digitally networked processes and process chains. The range of materials is also larger, including laser processing of transparent materials, semiconductors, and ceramics.”

Considering technology trends in LiM, Prof. Leyens said, “Due to technological advances and increasing international competition, laser power is becoming less expensive – I’m talking about several thousand rather than ten thousand euros per kilowatt.”

He added, “Another notable trend is the use of green and blue lasers. Their wavelengths are especially suitable for processing copper, which, in the course of electrification, is important for an increasing number of industries.”

WLT Award

Before the Plenary program commenced, Dr.-Ing. Ludger Overmeyer President of the German Scientific Laser Society (WLT) presented this year’s WLT Award to Dr. Jan Bernd Habedank, who is Head of Technical Competence at Raylase, Munich.

Dr. Habedank was recognized for his PhD thesis at the Institute for Machine Tools and Business Administration, TU Munich on laser structuring of Li-Ion battery electrodes, which can significantly improve the performance of such batteries. He also received a cheque for 5000 euros.

Dr. Habedank then revisited his thesis, entitled “Laser Structuring of graphite anodes for functionally enhanced lithium ion batteries”.

He told the audience, “Nowadays, lithium ion batteries are everywhere and they are the workhorses of the 21st century. At the core of every Li battery is the cell with the anode and cathode separated by the separator. The problem with the ion transport is that structure with the anodes is quite complex.”

The idea was to create what Dr. Habedank calls “ion shortcuts” inside the battery – using a pulsed laser. His research idea has a football stadium analogy: “corridors are necessary to enable optimal filling of a stadium with spectators, which is equivalent to achieving ideal ion movement,” he said.

“In the battery’s cell, these ion channels are created by laser treatment.” His group’s research included electrochemical research; modelling and simulation; and production-related stages including accelerated electrolyte wetting and scale-up of the laser structure.

He said, “Ultimately this approach leads to improved discharge capacity, reduced adverse internal lithium plating, a lower explosion risk, and higher currents in Li batteries.”

Other LiM conference keynotes were presented by experts from industry and research. Dr. Maria Farsari, Research Director at the Institute of the Electronic Structure and Laser, IESL-FORTH, in Greece, described the latest research in her group, which specializes in nonlinear lithography, and the possibilities of 3D micro- and nanoprinting.

Valeria Tirelli discussed the potentials of additive processes for manufacturing highly complex hydraulic components. She is CEO of Italian-based Aidro Hydraulics & 3D Printing, which has significant experience in this field.

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