Laser Technology

Surface Pre-treatment Using Laser Technology

Laseroptik mit Titanprobe zur gezielten Oxidmodifikation
© Fraunhofer IFAM
Laser scanner with titanium sample for selective oxide modification
Handgeführtes Lasersystem
© Fraunhofer IFAM
Hand-operated laser head


Industrial laser sources allow quality-assured and eco-friendly processing of material surfaces. Very short but powerful laser pulses are used to evaporate and remove contaminants and outer layers. As the interaction with the surface is only for a short time period, thermal damage to the substrate and hence a detrimental effect on the component stability is avoided.

The application of laser technology on real components involves industrial laser optics and laser sources of differing wavelength range (UV to IR). Besides hand-operated systems, the main systems involve in-line and robot-based processes or application under inert gas atmospheres.

Bath-free, photonic pre-treatment method with much potential …

Laser technology involves considerably lower disposal costs than wet-chemical and mechanical methods, some of which involve hazardous chemicals and waste products. Also, specific regions of components can be selectively treated, saving both time and costs.

A single step laser process can be used for cleaning and also for chemical as well as topographical modification of the substrate surface. Depending on the substrate and desired effect, more stable oxides or improved adhesion of adhesives or coatings can for example be realized.

… from Fraunhofer IFAM

The experts of Plasma Technology and Surfaces PLATO develop customized laser pretreatment processes, e. g., prior to bonding and coating steps, using industrial laser systems.

Fraunhofer IFAM has developed a robotized method for the aviation industry in order to clean the surface of carbon fiber reinforced plastics with an excimer laser. Today, in aircraft construction, parts such as wings and fuselage are cleaned by hand before applying a paint coat. Laser-based cleaning enables a gentle, safe surface treatment and guarantees reproducible results.