Facilities & Equipment

Image: The University of Manchester

High Powered Laser Application Laboratories

The High Power Laser Application laboratories at Heriot-Watt are well-equipped, including various high average/peak power lasers across a wide range of pulse lengths (millisecond, nanosecond, picosecond and femtosecond plus continuous wave) and wavelengths from the UV through to the infrared (355nm, 532nm, 1.06µm, 2.94µm, 10.6µm). These laser systems are coupled with high precision motion systems, including high speed galvo scanners and high precision air bearing and cross bearing stages. The laser processes that can be provided encompass micromachining, optical modification, polishing, cutting, joining, and microwelding.

Heriot-Watt University, Professor Duncan Hand & Dr Jon Shephard - D.P.Hand@hw.ac.ukJ.D.Shephard@hw.ac.uk

Welding & Laser Processing Laboratory

The Cranfield laboratory is an industrial scale facility dedicated to the study and development of joining, laser processing and large scale metal additive manufacture. Lasers available include an 8 kW IPG fibre laser, 200 W Synrad CO2 laser, SPI pulsed fibre laser, TEA CO2 laser and a JK 300 W average power pulsed Nd-YAG system. The lasers are supported by an extensive range of manipulators include robots, a 3m linear slide and traditional precision XYZ linear slides. For very large scale parts we have the 5m x 3m x 1m Hi Value Engineering system which is equipped for welding, machining and rolling. There are three environmental chambers for operating in controlled at atmosphere including vacuum and up to 250 bar pressure for hyperbaric studies. For hybrid processing there is a host of state of the art fusion arc welding power sources with the latest variants both in gas metal arc (e.g. surface tension controlled metal transfer) and gas tungsten arc welding (e.g. TOPTIG). The laboratory is equipped with 20 tonne cranes for management of large parts.
For process analysis we have a range of cameras (IR and high speed), beam diagnostics and thermal/electrical measuring systems. For material characterisation there are electron microscopes (with EBSD and EDS) and mechanical testing with Digital Image Correlation.

Cranfield University, Prof Stewart Williams & Dr Supriyo Ganguly - S.Williams@cranfield.ac.ukS.Ganguly@cranfield.ac.uk

Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing facilities at Liverpool consist of three MCP Realizer Selective Laser Melting machines, used for the development of new optical systems, powder handling systems and general building work. These machines are highly modified and can be reconfigured with reasonable ease allowing rapid development of optical, mechanical and materials systems. They are also able to produce solid, porous and combinations of solid and porous structures, suitable for the orthopaedic industry.  There are also two Renishaw AM (Laser Melting Additive Manufacturing) machines, which are being developed to incorporate new technologies.  An E-beam additive manufacturing machine will be installed soon.  These machines all use metal powders and full safe powder handling systems are incorporated. Other work in the area is on Laser Cladding and Direct Fabrication using wire feed systems that give compositional control and in the use of technologies normally associated with semi conductor  manufacture to improve the ink jet printing of metals.  The University also has a full range of analytical techniques that can be used to analyse and quantify the experiments carried out. These include optical and electron beam microscopy (SEM, TEM, STEM), X-ray based techniques (EDS,XRD) and mechanical testing facilities.

Equipment is available at Heriot-Watt (Realizer 250) for 3D printing of stainless steel components from metal powders. An extensive suite of testing and measuring instrumentation and facilities for fibre optic sensing and fibre optic handling. Cu-vapour laser for basic fibre Bragg grating writing.

University of Liverpool, Dr Chris Sutcliffe & Dr Peter Fox - C.Sutcliffe@Liverpool.ac.ukfoxp@liverpool.ac.uk

Heriot-Watt University,  Dr Robert Maier - R.R.J.Maier@hw.ac.uk

Laser Device Physics & Engineering

Heriot-Watt University hosts the laboratories and facilities that support the research of new laser technology. We focus on developing, characterising and applying novel ultrafast lasers, near- and mid-infrared solid-state laser devices, as well as semiconductor diode laser systems.  We have a track record of developing a wide range of laser systems, many of which are available for application testing. These include 1 µm wavelength ultrafast oscillators (Yb:YAG, Yb:KYW and mode-locked semiconductor lasers), ultra-fast amplifiers (Yb:fibre and Yb:YAG slab architectures), 1350-4000-nm optical parametric oscillators, 1530-nm femtosecond fibre lasers and 450–1500-nm supercontinuum sources. The Centre has the capability to develop bespoke laser systems, and as such we have the expertise, equipment and capability to fully characterise laser systems (e.g. beam profiling of high power laser beams up to kW-level; precision ultrafast pulse characterisation; as well as laser wavelength measurement in the visible, near-, mid- and far-infrared). 

Heriot-Watt University, Professor Daniel Esser, Professor Derryck Reid & Dr Klaus Metzger - M.J.D.Esser@hw.ac.uk, D.T.Reid@hw.ac.ukK.Metzger@hw.ac.uk

Centre for Industrial Photonics Facilities

The laboratories at Cambridge encompass a range of both high average power lasers (including fibre lasers up to 4kW) and ultrashort (femtosecond) pulsed lasers, together with a suite of analysis equipment, such as beam analysers and a FLIR thermal camera. A list of available equipment can be found here.

University of Cambridge, Sophie Fuller - sg523@cam.ac.uk

Analytical Facilities

Based at the University of Manchester we have a suite of 20 electron microscopes, comprising 12 scanning electron microscopes (SEMs), two dual beam Focused Ion Beam (FIB) microscopes, and five transmission electron microscopes (TEMs). This includes the recently installed state-of-the-art FEI Titan G2 80-200 scanning transmission electron microscope (S/TEM) with ChemiSTEM™ technology, the first of its kind in the UK. TEM preparation of complex specimens and serial sectioning is possible with the two dual beam Focused Ion Beam (FIB) microscopes: an FEI Nova 600i, equipped with an HKL electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD) system, and an FEI Quanta 3D FIB. In addition to our dual beam FIBs, we also have an FEI Quanta 250 FEG SEM dedicated to 3D imaging at the nano-scale using a Gatan x-ray tomography and ultramicrotome capability (Gatan 3View and XuM). The FEI Magellan FEG-SEM has a resolution of 0.8 nm, and is equipped with Oxford Instruments Xmax80 SDD system, EBSD detector and an AZTEC integrated analysis system. We have 5 FEG-SEMs equipped with EBSD analysis systems. In addition to the Manchester facilities there is high quality analysis equipment (SEMs, optical microscopes, Raman microscope, mechanical testing) available at the other institutions.

University of Manchester,  Professor Phil Prangnell - philip.prangnell@manchester.ac.uk