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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/W025256/1
Title: Multiscale multidimensional integrated imaging for precision laser processing (M2I2)
Principal Investigator: Booth, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Fells, Dr J Salter, Dr PS
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Friedrich-Alexander Univ of Erlangen FAU Heriot-Watt University Opsydia Ltd
OpTek Systems Oxford Lasers Ltd
Department: Engineering Science
Organisation: University of Oxford
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 June 2022 Ends: 31 May 2025 Value (£): 863,618
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
09 Feb 2022 Manufacturing Instrumenting the Future Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Precision laser processing has much potential for advanced manufacturing. Features can be machined at a fraction of a micrometre in size in a wide range of materials. The use of ultrashort laser pulses (with duration less than a picosecond) is important since all of the laser pulse energy is delivered to the focus in a timescale shorter than that for thermal diffusion. Therefore, all the material machining is done before any energy can escape as heat, which underpins the high resolution of the technique. Ultrashort laser pulses provide other unique opportunities, since they can be used for three-dimensional fabrication inside transparent materials, with a range of applications for smart technology. Such precision laser processing is already applied on an industrial scale, with examples such as accurate cutting of glass for smartphones or multi-dimensional data storage. With a constant drive for miniaturisation and enhanced functionality, the sector is destined to blossom over the next decade.

The ability to fabricate features at the sub-micrometre scale presents many opportunities for advanced technology. However, accurate positioning of such small features in three dimensions inside centimetre scale workpieces creates a serious challenge. Machine vision uses imaging solutions integrated inside the manufacturing system to provide feedback for the laser process to ensure that the device is machined as designed. However, existing hardware and software systems cannot meet the challenging demands of such high precision laser processing.

In this project, we develop new hardware and software solutions that will enable rapid three-dimensional imaging at high resolution. We also introduce new systems that can provide a macroscopic view of the entire device being processed. Additionally we establish innovative forms of optical feedback that can be applied to closely monitor the laser manufacturing process. All of this information is merged together inside a cohesive software framework, that can provide quick data transfer of important information to the laser manufacturing system. This enables quicker, more accurate laser processing of smaller features in demanding applications, to enable industrial scale manufacturing of advanced technology.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.ox.ac.uk