ICALEO 2001 Conference Preview

This year, the International Congress on Applications of Lasers & Electro-Optics (ICALEO) will be held October 15-18 in Jacksonville, FL. Sponsored by the Laser Institute of America (Orlando, FL), the event will cover a broad range of topics, including nanofabrication and laser welding of aluminum.

Plenary session

Nanotechnology will be a thrust of the ICALEO 2001 plenary session. Called Lasers and Nanotechnology,, the session will examine the role of lasers in this emerging area. Topics in this session range from laser synthesis and manipulation of nanoparticles and nanotubes to laser-based machining of nanostructures with resolutions exceeding the optical diffraction limit. A panel discussion follows the presentations, which include the following themes:

Confining, Manipulating and Analyzing Light in Nanometric Dimensionalities. This presentation will be by Aaron Lewis, who holds the Eric Samson Chair in Applied Science and Technology at Hebrew University and is founder of Nanonics Imaging Ltd. (Jerusalem, Israel). He will discuss how light has been manipulated, confined and analyzed in the nanometric domain. Spatial confinement has produced optical imaging and nanofabrication with the highest spatial resolution ever achieved. While spectral confinement has led to the development of second harmonic microscopy. The lecture describes these developments and discusses the goal of monitoring cellular and biological processes with nanometer resolution.

Femtosecond Laser Ablation and Nanostructuring. In this discussion, B. N. Chichkov of the Laser Zentrum Hannover in Germany will report results of the investigation of femtosecond laser pulses for direct ablative writing and microstructuring of solid materials. The author will discuss the theoretical and practical results of this technique.

Testing the Limits of Photoresists with Interferometric Lithography. This theme will be discussed by John Hoffnagle of IBM Research Division, Almaden Research Center (San Jose, CA). He reports that interferometric lithography provides a simple but powerful tool to test the performance of photoresists at small feature sizes. Data taken from exposures with well-defined spatial frequency, contrast and polarization have been compared with the results of realistic modeling of the chemical dynamics to gain new insights into the physical chemistry of photolithography and the resolution limits arising from such phenomena as image blur and line edge roughness. An apparatus for deep-UV (257 nm) interference lithography is described and results of experiments on several chemically amplified resists will be presented.

Tailoring and Shaping Nanoparticles with Laser Light. In this period, Professor Frank Träger of the University of Kassel, Germany, will focus on nanoparticles and how they lend themselves naturally to the design and fabrication of a great variety of novel materials with tailor-made characteristics. Examples for applications in electronics and optoelectronic components, catalytic processes and new nonlinear optical devices are given. Presented will be an overview of recent work carried out with the goal to produce nanoparticles of well-defined dimensions. Novel methods for tailoring and shaping nanoparticles by tunable pulsed laser radiation based on selective optical absorption are described and trends and possible future developments of treating nanostructures with laser light are outlined.

In addition, David Geohegan of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, TN) will present a paper titled Laser-Synthesis of Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes with Time-Resolved in situ Diagnostics.

Technical Sessions

Worldwide interest in the ICALEO 2001 technical sessions is evident in the number of presentations expected from the United Kingdom (27), Germany (26), Japan (19), China (13), and France (12). Finland, Sweden and Korea are among other countries also presenting. General Chair Xiangli Chen of GE China Technology Center, New York and Shanghai, reports that about half of the 220 papers slotted to date are from the US.

ICALEO features 16 technical sessions in the Laser Materials Processing Conference and nine sessions in the Laser Microfabrication Conference. Events are scheduled throughout the four-day congress. Interest in the plenary topic Lasers and Nanotechnology has attracted additional presentations in both conferences, according to Plenary Chair Xianfan Xu of Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN).

Laser Materials Proces-sing Chairs Y. Lawrence Yao of Columbia University, New York, N.Y., Ernst W. Kreutz of the Fraunhofer Institute of Laser Technology, Aachen, Germany and Gnian Cher Lim of the Gintic Institute of Manufacturing Technology, Singapore, report areas of special interest include technological advances in diode lasers, rapid prototyping, laser beam shaping and education.

Among topics predicting where the future will lead is the paper Effects of Magnetically Supported Laser Beam Welding of Aluminum Alloys, which will be presented by Dirk Lindenau, DaimlerChrysler AG, and co-authored by G�nter Ambrosy, Peter Berger and Helmut Hügel from the Institut für Strahlwerkzeuge, Stuttgart, Germany. They report on studies using electromagnetic forces to stabilize the weld pool, improve seam quality and shape the seam cross-section. CO and YAG lasers were used and high-speed video observations were made.

In the Cutting of Thick Steel Plate Using a Spinning Nd:YAG Laser Beam presentation, James Harris and Milan Brandt of the Industrial Laser Processing Facility, IRIS, University of Technology (Swinburne, Australia), report on the use of both conventional and spinning optics to cut mild steel. Results show that for the spinning beam, there is significant increase in the thickness of material that can be cut for a given laser power. However, when compared to the conventional cutting of medium thickness plate (10 and 12mm), there was minimal improvement in cut speed.

ICALEO will also touch on biomedical research with a presentation related to gene analysis. Laser Machining of Micro Reservoir Pins for Gene Analysis and High-Throughput Screening will be presented by Martyn Knowles of Oxford Lasers Ltd., (Abingdon, UK). He reports on a new device to process the vast amounts of data involved in drug discovery and the human genome sequence. The device contains several micro-features including a high precision, laser cut 10 micron wide capillary slot. Investigations showed significant advantages of laser cutting and micromilling compared to electrical discharge machining.

During the panel discussion, titled What Do End-Users Want? Laser Materials Processing: Today and Tomorrow, industry leaders will present industry challenges featuring an overview by David Belforte, editor of Industrial Laser Solutions for Manufacturing, a sister publication to Laser Focus World.

Jack Dyer, Contributing Editor, LIA Newsletter

For more information on ICALEO 2001, visit the web site for the Laser Institute of America.

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