High Resolution Laser Melting with Brilliant Radiation

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Streek, A.
Regenfuss, P.
Exner, H.

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University of Texas at Austin


Since the discovery of selective laser sintering/melting, numerous modifications have been made to upgrade or customize this technology for industrial purposes. Laser micro sintering (LMS) is one of those modifications: Powders with particles in the range of a few micrometers are used to obtain products with highly resolved structures. Pulses of a q-switched laser had been considered necessary in order to generate sinter layers from these µm-scaled metal powders. However, despite the high resolution, the process repeatability of LMS and the material property of the products have never been completely satisfactory. Recent technological and theoretical progress and the application of brilliant continuous laser radiation have now allowed for efficient laser melting of µm-scaled metal powders. Thereby, it is remarkable that thin sinter layers are generated with a very high laser power. The resulting product resolution is comparable to the one achieved by the LMS regime with q-switched pulses. From the experimental results the performance and potential of this high resolution laser melting regime is demonstrated and the limits of the applicable parameters are deduced.


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