In January 2023, the HiLASE Centre (FZU – Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences) started an interesting project focused on the Development of a unique femtosecond laser source, the acronym – femtoLASER. The partners of the project are OptiCE Photonics – main investigator, Centrum HiLASE, CRYTUR and Lightigo.
Project aim: Research and development of laser sources generating ultrafast pulses and associated optomechanical and electronic modules with innovative parameters. The adoption of ultrafast laser technology will significantly contribute to strengthening the technological capacity and development and production capability in the Czech Republic.
The use of a femtosecond laser in analytical chemistry methods for laser ablation of material is a suitable alternative to standard developmental chemistry techniques. Optical emission spectroscopy techniques and laser spectrometry are replacing methods using acids and other chemicals in sample preparation in many applications. The consumption of these substances for one analytical instrument is about 1l per day (10 ml per sample, 100 samples per day). Laser ablation technology does not have this need for sample preparation, the analysis is performed only on the sample itself using inert gases or a vacuum. Given the global installed base of ICP-MS/OES instruments (hundreds of thousands), replacing even a fraction of them would result in a massive saving of chemicals that are necessary for such analyses, but cannot be replaced or reused afterwards. Such waste material is then disposed of as highly hazardous waste and places a significant burden on the environment, both in its own production and in the disposal chain. The present project, therefore, aims to reduce them progressively and thus help to meet Goal 5 of the European Green Deal “A toxin-free environment through an ambitious zero pollution target” by eliminating analytical methods which rely on the use of toxic substances.
The main objective and sub-objectives of the project are in direct relation to Industry 4.0, where the application of lasers with short and ultra-short pulses is an essential tool in production and quality control in the automotive industry, especially in electromobility. Industry 4.0 processes are implemented in the development and production of these lasers.
The project is funded by the TREND programme of the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic.
Project number: FW06010384