Thursday, March 26, 2015
Goldwater Center 487, Tempe campus [map]
The single most challenging aspect of creating functional surfaces today is to create highly precise micro-features over an area that is at least three or more orders of magnitude greater in dimension than the feature itself (imagine textured airplane wings to prevent ice formation, or textured solar panels to improve radiation trapping). So far beambased
machining methods, although having high resolution and precision, suffer from material restrictions and speed limitations. This is primarily due to the inherent inefficiency of the beam-material coupling process. A novel technique, Laser-Induced Plasma Micro- Machining (LIPMM), enables processing of high melting point, brittle, transparent and highly reflective materials, all of which respond poorly to direct ablation due to their optical and thermo-mechanical properties. By increasing the efficiency of laser-material interaction, higher processing speeds and greater material removal rates can be achieved. The overarching objective is the quest for a highly versatile, productive and efficient micro-texturing process that does not compromise on precision and resolution.
Ishan Saxena is a Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University, and a member of the Advanced Manufacturing Processes lab, where he has researched on developing novel laser-based micromanufacturing methods collectively aimed at multi-material processing and ultra-fast surface texturing and engineering.