An innovative hybrid laser-waterjet manufacturing technology developed by Professor Jun Wang and his PhD student, Viboon Tangwarodomnukun, has won the 2012 UNSW Advanced Innovation Award.
The team has introduced a totally new material removal concept to the machining process to achieve damage-free or near damage-free fabrication. In this technology, a laser is used to locally heat and soften the material, rather than melting or vaporising it as in traditional laser ablation processes, and a waterjet is used to remove the laser-softened material element-by-element at much below its melting temperature. Waterjet also takes a cooling action. The combined effect can achieve near damage-free fabrication as well as increase the material ablation rate.
Damage-free fabrication of micro-structures at commercially acceptable costs has been recognised as one of the most cutting-edge technologies in the 21st Century. The need for such a manufacturing technology is evident by the increasing demand for high-integrity, high-density devices and systems, such as the high-performance electronic and photovoltaic devices and nano/micro electro-mechanical systems in industrial, scientific and consumer products.
It is believed that this innovation has the potential to revolutionise the traditional laser machining practice and allow new and advanced products to be developed to benefit our society.
The annual Innovation Awards are organised by the University’s commercialisation company, New South Innovations (NSi), to recognise outstanding innovation conducted by UNSW staff and students.