Laser Systems with Highest Performance and Shortest Pulses

Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence 

Fraunhofer CAPS is one of currently six Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence. The Fraunhofer Clusters of Excellence promote the cooperative development and processing of system-relevant topics through an inter-institute research structure. In organizational terms, these research clusters correspond to a “virtual institute” spread over multiple locations. The aim of the research clusters is not just to temporarily implement single projects but rather to follow a roadmap for the long-term development of a complex technological trend.


Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Advanced Photon Sources CAPS

The central subject of Fraunhofer CAPS is to develop a new generation of laser systems by increasing the output power of ultrafast lasers by an order of magnitude as well as researching their potential applications. This goal is achieved by investigations in three research areas:

  1. laser source concepts
  2. system technology concepts for for fast beam shaping and deflection
  3. their application in industrial production as well as in fundamental research

To accelerate the introduction of these novel laser sources to application development, two application laboratories in Jena and Aachen will be opened this year. These two locations together form the User Facility, where new processes are being made industrially relevant.

Research area: laser sources

The development of correspondingly powerful ultrafast laser sources is essential to achieve the ambitious goals. Fraunhofer is aggressively advancing the complementary concepts for fiber lasers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF and for slab and disk lasers at the Fraunhofer Insititute for Laser Technology ILT. Currently, 3.5 kW have been reached, and the partners want to scale the system up to 10 kW this year.


Research area: system technology

In addition to the multi-kW ultrafast laser sources, the jointly developed system technology will be available in the User Facility. With it, the partners will explore applications in four future fields: production, imaging, materials and fundamental research.


Research area: application

Processing of ultra-hard materials is one possible application of the new ultrafast lasers. For example, ultra-hard diamond composite ceramic pipes for use on the seafloor shall be machined precisely and quickly. Other examples include photovoltaic or battery manufacturing.

Furthermore, coherent radiation in the EUV range can be generated by the novel ultrafast laser sources. In this context, there are projects in the field of imaging. Coherent EUV radiation can be used to image biological or semiconductor structures in the nanometer range. Measuring of defects on lithographic masks for chip production offers interesting perspectives for the semiconductor industry, for example.