Research and Development of CO2 lasers
Welcome to Hypermemo Ltd
Hypermemo Oy engaged in R&D of CO2 lasers since 2012. Since that time the company has invented an Innovative High Repetitive rate Short-Pulsed CO2 Laser with hundreds watts output power. The invention is a remarkable development for the market. Before CO2 laser considered to be obsolete since they could work only in a continuous wave regime or provide long pulses. Hypermemo Oy developed a unique solution for CO2 lasers and re-opened few applications previously impossible for lasers as Laser glass cutting, Laser glass marking, and Laser glass engraving. The invented laser is inexpensive in production, reliable, powerful and efficient. It is important that the glass processing technology developed in the Company is a CleanTech - less wastes, no dirt and noise, and provides cut with no chips. Hypermemo has the USA and the Finnish patents which protects its IPR and proves the technology supremacy.
Innovative High Repetitive rate Short-Pulsed CO2 laser
Currently existing CO2 lasers are not working in a short-pulse Q-switched mode. They operate in a continuous and in a free running (long-pulse, tenths microseconds and more) modes only. To achieve this mode one should realize the modulation of optical losses inside the laser resonator. This can be attained by the use of electro-optical, acousto-optical, or opto-mechanical modulators. In high-power lasers, using of electro- and acousto-optical devices is limited. The problem is that at 10.6 mkm all transparent optical materials that can be employed inside the laser resonator possess a non-zero absorption coefficient (few percent). This leads to a significant inside heat generation and finally to a damage of these elements. A plasma formation at the modulator’s aperture edges also limits the use of intracavity opto-mechanical devices causing a modulator degradation or a beam screening. Therefore, there are no established ways to achieve this regime. For the development of lasers operating in a required mode or for the conversion of the existing lasers to this mode one needs to develop a new approach. And this is what Hypermemo has been focused on before and during the implementation of the LASCUT (laser cutting) project partially financed by TEKES (project #2564/31/2015).
Hypermemo Oy is the first and the only one to date company in the world who has experimentally realized short-pulsed Q-switched mode in 100 Watt CO2 laser. Specifically, the company has developed an exclusive approach of a conversion a serial CO2 laser into CO2 laser working at a high-repetitive short-pulsed mode. The laser has a pulse frequency of 10-60 kHz (high-frequency), a pulse duration of 300-400 ns (short-pulse) and provides a 10-20 times excess of the peak power over the average power. This development settled new application areas for lasers — laser processing of GLASS, STONE and WOOD.
Laser Glass processing application
From re-opened applications we focused on glass cutting because it is a big and fast growing market. There are few big semi-markets inside: chemically hardened glass for mobile devices, cameras and computers; automotive glass; ordinary glass for constructions; energy saving and laminated glass. These glasses are currently cutted by diamond tools, water jets, and femtosecond and picosecond lasers. Diamond and hard metal tools (wheels, crystals, rolls) is the oldest technology and market leader. This technology has an advantage of the price but requires a postprocessing such as washing, grinding, and drying that adds production, time and equipment costs (additional equipment is needed). The technology is applied mostly for a line cutting. The curved cutting is possible but gives up to 30% of fails. The water jet is another approach providing a high quality cutting both line and curved. However the velocity of a processing is at least one order low than with diamond tools. In addition, the technology requires the special expensive powder and postprocessing (washing and drying). Moreover equipment is much more expensive, working environment is very noisy and dirty. Femtosecond and picosecond solid-state lasers are the new players in the market. Today several companies are developing these lasers for glass processing. The technology is a Cleantech, with no wastes and with a good cutting quality. The biggest minus is the price, very expensive initial and maintenance costs. Another minus is that the technology can be applied preferably in a processing of thin and pure (without opaque includings) glasses such as e.g. Gorilla glass. Diamond rolls are leaving precision cutting (smartphone screens etc.) and curved cutting (furniture, architecture design glass, etc.) markets in favor of water jets and lasers. However they still cover the main part of mass glass market such as window glass and automotive glass markets.
Our goal is to introduce the CO2 laser solution into the window and automotive glass markets. The solution will give a comparable price of the equipment while provide the high speed and high edge quality cutting without any postprocessing. Besides all our solution allows one to realize in a one setup the additional processing capabilities and features such as removing of laminated layers, facet production, sharp edge smoothing, and art engraving surface.
Projects and Plans
At the end of 2015 the company’s development activities have been supported by TEKES for the realization of the LASCUT project (#2564/31/2015) aimed for the concept of CO2 laser glass cutting development and its proving. During the project the laser operating in a high-frequency short-pulsed mode has been developed. The laser possibility of cutting and engraving the most spreaded glasses with a thickness of 3-4mm as well as Gorilla glass cutting with high quality without the use of additional equipment have been demonstrated. The company currently is oriented on the industrial unified short-pulsed CO2 laser development. The main market of the proposed laser is a processing of window, automotive, and Gorilla glasses. According to preliminary estimates the market demands for such lasers (only for glass cutting) ranges from 1,000 to 2,000 units per year.
In cooperation with our partner Laser Center Ltd (Saint-Petersburg, Russia), we plan to develop a new generation of material processing laser system. Laser Center Ltd will develop the optical scanner for this system adapted for working with high peak power CO2 radiation. An innovative CO2 laser have to be used in this system will be developed by our company. The project will extend the glass cutting technology developed in the LASCUT project and push the high frequency short-pulsed CO2 laser development forward to industry where the use of reliable and unified solutions are required. The project's idea is not to convert a serial CO2 laser into a short-pulsed mode but to develop a principle new CO2 laser working at this mode. The proposed laser will represent an elementary gas pump chamber consisting of gas cells providing a fast replacement of the inversion in the active media. These cells with an output power of several tens of watts can be simply combined in blocks for providing the required power with laser output characteristics saving. This laser will be merged with the optical system delivering a new generation of material processing laser systems not existing in the market. The system will provide a cutting of brittle materials (that is today possible only with the Lascut laser) as well as will ensure metallic materials processing, cutting and engraving.
Core technology and IPR Protection
Our core technology of a patented invention is a short-pulse generator which can be extended on other types of lasers (e.g. Solid State Lasers). The technology can be applied along with the glass cutting on wood and stone processings also. Our IPR protection is supported by the Finnish and the USA patents. In close future it will be strengten with Chinese and EPO countries patents. Reproducing of our system for competotors should be a problem because of additional know-how beyond of patent.