Institut d'optique d'Aquitaine
Rue François Mitterrand
Tél. : +33 524 545 200

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Centre technologique optique et lasers


Institut d'optique d'Aquitaine

Rue François Mitterrand



Tél : +33 524 545 200
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Research and innovation in the sector composites for aerospace

ARCOCE - Rear ceramic composite bodies  


Project ended (2008 - 2012)


About the project :


The aerospace market is preparing to renew its fleet of aircraft and associated engines. This renewal in 2015 must take into account the requirements established by the Kyoto Protocol. These come to ambitious goals, particularly in terms of reducing the consumption of kerosene, forcing engine manufacturers to improve the efficiency of their engines while reducing their weight.


In this context, Snecma Propulsion Solide, under the auspices of the SAFRAN Group, positions itself as a supplier of engine parts made of a thermostructural composite based on a ceramic matrix. This innovative material has two significant advantages compared to metal alloys: its lightness and its resistance to high temperatures. Before using this material in series, it is essential that it reaches a sufficient level of technological maturity. Many challenges remain before us that are related to the development of the material and to the implementation of its production processes, to the realization of demonstration trials, and to achieving a reasonnable sale price.


ALPhANOV's role :


Develop specific processes for laser micromachining of these composite materials.


Partner : Herakles (groupe Safran)


Overall budget : EUR 19 million


Funding : DGCIS / Région Aquitaine

Triggered picosecond laser platform

ALPhANOV introduces a new triggered picosecond laser platform based on a fully fibered innovative design. This platform enabled the development of compact, robust and therefore reliable lasers, at a very affordable cost.


The technology offers triggered picosecond pulses generally synchronized on TTL signal: this provides a more versatile operation than picosecond mode-locked lasers.


This platform is optimized to provide efficient frequency conversion and thus allows laser sources to operate at 1064, 532 or 355 nm, with pulse widths of less than 100 ps. Tests have also demonstrated operation with pulses of shorter duration down to femtosecond, still with a fully fibered deign and with a synchronized trigger.




he combination of high average power (above 50 W), high repetition rate (up to 2 MHz) and pulse energy of up to 50 μJ leads to a family of sources dedicated to numerous applications including: industrial machining for photovoltaic applications, selective ablation, cutting glass or LEDs; nonlinear optics via nonlinear crystals or fibers (supercontinuum generation, for instance).


Examples of performance available through the platform:



1064 nm

532 nm

355 nm

Pulse width

100 ps

80 ps

< 80 ps

Pulse energy

50 µJ

20 µJ

8 µJ

Repetition rate

0 to 2 MHz

0 to 2 MHz

0 to 2 MHz


50 W

25 W

2 W


< 1,2

< 1,2

< 1,2

Pulse stability

< 1% RMS

< 1% RMS

< 1% RMS


Vertical, > 100 :1

Vertical, > 100 :1

Vertical, > 100 :1


Project ended (2012-2015)


About the project :


The VESUVE project aims at achieving a high rep rate UV laser of industrial reliability for marking cables applications, for which the market demands always larger speed and functionality.


The innovations include the laser source and the management of the laser beam, for a new type of marking machines, faster and more flexible.


Technological breakthroughs generated will enable partners to increase their current market shares. New applications will also be considered to address new markets.


Partners : Amplitude Systèmes, Cristal Laser, IMS, Innoptics, LAAS-CNRS, Laselec.


Overall budget : € 2.57 million


Funding : FUI



Laser assisted bioimpression for in vivo bone tissue engineering in mice.


Project ended (2011 - 2014)


About the project :

Tissue engineering can be defined as the set of techniques and methods based on the principles of engineering and of life sciences to develop biological substitutes that can restore, maintain or improve tissue functions. Hence, research in this area is an interdisciplinary field combining knowledge and methods from physics, cell biology, chemical engineering, material science, mathematics.


In this context, we are interested in developing a methodology for biological materials printing by laser. Based on the principle of the method Laser-Induced Forward Transfer (LIFT) method, Laser-Assisted Bioprinting (LAB) was proposed in 2002 by the Naval Research Laboratory (Washington, USA) for the deposition of biomolecules and cells on the surface of biomaterials. This method has the advantage of allowing large degrees of freedom in terms of the nature and the volume of biological elements to be "manipulated", and enjoys the advantages of laser technologies such as lack of contact, spatial resolution and manipulation speed.


ALPhANOV's role :

Validate the methodology for laser assisted biological materials printing, optimize the procedure,  and develop, if necessary, a well-suited laser source.


Partners : University Bordeaux 2, Inserm, CIC-IT, UPMC, CMCP, Collège de France.


Overall budget : € 650 k


Funding: CRA, ANR


CALAS - autonomous and secure laser ignition cell


Project ended (2010 - 2011)


About the project :

CALAS project which was completed in late 2011, brought forth the development of a prototype for a laser ignition chain that incorporates the latest developments in laser technology (source and fiber) and demonstrates the potential of this technology by testing ignition of a combustion chamber of an aircraft gas turbine.


Results: Successful ignitions for air / kerosene mixtures, under standard conditions, as well as under some degraded conditions (pressure and temperature), representative of difficult ignition conditions.


Two challenges, both environmental and economic, entice to continue this work beyond CALAS proof of concept :

  • the ability to implement economical ways to use turbines for twin turbines helicopters
  • optimized ignition for future generations of combustion chambers with low  nitrogen oxides emissions

The studies will be continued under a new project aimed at achieving a quasi industrial maturity (robustness and cost) under 3 years.


Partners : Turbomeca (groupe Safran), CPMOH (maintenant LOMA)


Overall budget :  € 663 k


Funding : CRA


Project ended (2010 - 2013)


About the project :

Femtoprint aims to develop a 3D printer for the realization of microsystems in glass with nanometer resolution, in a volume not exceeding that of a shoebox. The aim is to give a large number of users from industry, research and universities, the ability to produce their own microsystems, rapidly, without expensive infrastructure or expertise. Recent research has demonstrated the ability to create three-dimensional patterns in glass using low power femtosecond laser beams.


This simple process can be applied to a wide variety of systems from micro to nanoscale dimensions. The patterns can then be used to make integrated optical components or be "developed" by etching to form three-dimensional structures such as channels for microfluidics and micro-mechanical components. This process also enables to achieve sub-micron resolution and to produce patterns smaller than the wavelength of the laser. The energy required being small, the process only involves a simple femtosecond oscillator.


Partners : CSEM, Quintenz, EPFL, University of Southampton, Amplitude Systèmes, Eindhoven University of Technology, Mecartex.


Overall budget :  € 3.4 million


Funding : European Commission (FP7, NMP call)


First prototype of the "Femtoprinter", presented in December 2011 in Brussels, at the first European Innovation Convention



Project ended (2011 - 2013)


About the project:


The wood primary processing industry is highly dependent on the quality of its supply management. LNPKEY focuses on tracking wood from its entering the park until its first transformation. This choice is justified by the current lack of solution to relate the characteristics "forest" and the characteristics "timber" in real time and per logs.


LNPKEY proposes to make the prototype of an innovative traceability system dedicated to wood primary processing, which improves the management of companies' lumberyards to better manage raw material. Deployment of LNPKEY solutions may well demonstrate the benefits of data capitalization and its restitution in real time to improve competitiveness.


ALPhANOV's contribution : Development of the reading laser

Partners : Ciris Ingénierie, FCBA, SEGEM, FPBois, ITM

Overall budget :  € 1.4 million

Funding : CRA, Oséo


ISOCEL - Innovative solar cells


Project ended (2012-2017)


About the project :


Between now and 2020, France needs to reduce its energy dependency and its emissions of greenhouse gases. Solar technologies have emerged as one of the primary solutions. They also carry important economic issues for our country, especially for export. They participate in the development of strategic markets such as energy storage, "smart" power grids (Smart Grids), and positive energy buildings (BEPOS).


Following the Call for Expressions of Interest "Solar" and "Photovoltaic" of the Investments for the Future Program , 64 projects supported by 227 companies and research laboratories were applying for funding from ADEME. The Agency has selected 14 winners at this stage. These projects have in common to reduce the costs of energy systems based on solar resources, to improve their overall performance, and to reduce their environmental impact.


Among these projects, the Isocel project in which ALPhANOV participates, intends to establish a competitive and sustainable manufacturing industry of new generation photovoltaic modules specifically aimed at the construction sector. The heart of innovation lies in polymeric materials for protection and encapsulation.



ALPhANOV's contribution :


Within this project, ALPhANOV is in charge of the laser subsystem intended to be used for the thin film processes to be developed.


Partners :


Arkema, Canoe, CEA, CNAM, CNRS, CSTB, Fonroche, INES, Innoveox, Mondragon Assembly, Nexcis, Polyrise, Solarezo.


Overall budget : € 30.2 million


Funding : ADEME

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Blue laser

Development of a new family of high-power blue fiber lasers.


Project ended (2008 - 2010)


About the project :


The 488-nm blue wavelength corresponds to a clearly identified need in the field of high power lasers, for applications interesting to the bio-medical instrumentation field. The most significant relevant markets are DNA sequencing, flow cytometry and laser Doppler anemometry.


Laser equipment capable of meeting the needs for the upgrade and the development of related equipment parks are based on diode-pumped, micro-structured fiber optic technology, with frequency conversion of the infrared flux produced by the source. The frequency conversion takes place in a ferroelectric crystal with periodic domain inversion (PPLN), capable to provide excellent power yield. The high  power levels achieved and conveyed are made possible by the use of micro-structured large mode area single mode fibers (LMA).

Coupling of these components and mastering of the fibered architectures for achieving efficient and compact blue sources tailored to the needs of the market, are the subject of the project.


ALPhANOV's contribution :

Development of specific fibered architectures. 

Partners : ALS, CNRS, Université Bordeaux 1, Université Bordeaux 2, ALPhA Route des Lasers, Région Aquitaine.

Overall budget: € 350 k

Funding : Oséo


Project ended (2011 - 2013)


About the project :


The PERCEVAL project, led by SNECMA, has the overall goals of reducing the environmental impact of air transport, the reduction of noise from the engine, the validation of the structural strength of composite structures of the fan module in case of a loss of a turbine blade, the reduction of the finition cycles, and the reduction of the environmental impact of scouring.


The work of ALPHANOV fit into this latter objective by developing an innovative process of laser scouring of composite parts in order to avoid the use of chemicals.

Several laser technologies will be tested (IR and UV fiber lasers, COTEA laser, Excimer laser, ...) to determine the solution with the best compromise between scouring selectivity, productivity and low damage to the composite substrate. These optical methods will be compared to cryogenic,  sodium bicarbonate spraying, and water jet stripping.


In addition to the stripping process, ALPHANOV's expertise will build on the skills of Aquitaine laboratories to develop an active control of the process in order to limit damage to the composite substrate during stripping operations. The LIBS technique (Laser Induced Spectroscopy Breackdown) which consists of analyzing the spectral signature of the plasma created during ablation, will be applied in collaboration with the LOMA (Laboratoire Ondes and Materials of Aquitaine). A second method, based on the study of acoustic waves generated by the ablation process will in turn be developed in partnership with the LMP (Laboratory of Mechanics Physics). 


ALPhANOV's contribution : Development of the laser process and of its active control.


Partners : AD Industrie, LISJ Aerospace, Rescoll, Snecma (groupe Safran)


Overall budget : € 8.9 million


Project ended (2009 - 2011)


About the project :

Development of an industrial machine for surface treatment by fiber lasers incorporating a mechanism for monitoring of the process in real time.


This cleaning system is completely non-polluting and respectful of the objects to be cleaned. It is based on the use of innovative fiber lasers producing relatively short high power pulses. The principle is to be part of a pattern of sustainable development by increasing the lifetime of industrial objects through their regular cleaning, free from wear and without creation of waste pollutants.


The project involves several steps:


Develop and industrialize a new highly innovative fiber laser source, highly reliable and that will deliver about 200 Watts average power.


Develop a demonstrator for the use of a class IV laser in hostile industrial environment, for the manual cleaning of elastomer molds.


Develop a control system based on LIBS to constantly check the quality of the process.


Develop a beam-shaping system for converting a Gaussian beam into a square top-hat profile in order to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the cleaning process. The set will be tested on the cleaning of tire molds in collaboration with major manufacturers.


ALPhANOV's contribution : Participate in the development of the laser source, design the demonstrator, and develop the control system.

Partners : Eolite Systems, LOMA, Quantel

Overall budget :  € 1.4 million

Funding : FUI


Project ended (2012 - 2014)


About the project:


Establishment of a platform of expertise and resources around components, modules and subsystems based on laser diodes.

This project, which is part of a Relocation Plan (PLR), is structured around four main objectives:

  • development of next generation control electronics ;
  • design and modeling for beam generation and beam shaping ;
  • establishment of a platform for integrating components and subsystems ;
  • development of sub-systems that combine high power (peak or average) and high brilliance in a range of costs that is non-prohibitive for industrialization.

The project will enable the development of expertise and resources dedicated to the prototyping of innovative diode laser systems, including skills in electronic modeling, optics, opto-mechanics, and thermal management. It will thus help the different partners of the consortium manage the value chain for the industrialization of their components and equipment.


ALPhANOV's contribution : ALPhANOV will host the platform, ensure its inception and implementation, and carry out various work related directly to the project. It will coordinate the whole project.

Partners : ALS, Amplitude Systèmes, Eolite Systems, Innoptics, Novae.

Overall budget : € 560 k

Funding : PLR


Development of antimicrobial surfaces by high power ultra-short laser texturing.


About the project:


Goal of the TresClean project is to develop innovative functionalized surfaces by laser texturing, removing the need for chemical treatments. These functionalized materials will find a wide range of applications where self-cleaning and aseptic surface are necessary, such as food packaging and household appliances industries. The processes developed in the frame of the TresClean project will meet the industrial needs especially in terms of productivity with texturing speeds up to 40 mm/s.


ALPhANOV's role:


ALPhANOV will contribute by developing LIPSS-based texturing laser processes able to adjust the wettability and the antibacterial properties of the treated surfaces. In order to achieve high processing speeds, a sub-picosecond laser system delivering up to 350 W of average power at a high repetition rate (a few MHz) will be employed. The high average power laser system will be connected to a high-speed polygonal scanning head, developed within the project by RAYLASE AG, which will allow the laser beam to move at speeds over 100 m/s.




Overall budget: EUR 3.36 million


Funding: European Union (H2020)







About the project:


The GRADIOM project is the following of the GRAVITER project, which led to the development of a new generation of highly efficient external enhancement-cavity doublers at 780 nm, which was later patented with Muquans.


The first step of the GRADIOM project consists to improve the optical performance of this doubler to 780 nm in order to obtain several watts and to enable multiphotonic Raman transitions and thus open the way for the implementation of atomic interferometers with a considerably increased area.


The second mission of this project is to use its skills to access shorter wavelengths, especially around 461 nm for strontium atom cooling applications.


The last part will be devoted to prospective studies to reach the area of ultraviolet around 390 nm or 399 nm.


ALPhANOV's role:


Develop single-frequency laser sources by cavity-frequency doubling to access specific wavelengths of atomic transitions: 780 nm, 461 nm, 390 nm.



  • Muquans
  • Syrte


Overall budget: EUR 240 000


Funding: DGA


Improve the manufacturing processes of medicines to meet the future costs, availability and safety challenges of medicines produced around the world.


About the project:

The objective of the PharmaSense project is to develop and deploy flexible machines incorporating new photonic sensors on the production lines of tablets, capsules and powders. These sensors, based on near-infrared and terahertz, "see" inside the material and will allow analysis of the quality in real time on the production lines. Modules based on THz and infrared technologies will be studied and developed by the various partners with the aim of evaluating and integrating these different technologies on the TEONYS modular platform.


ALPhANOV’s role:

ALPhANOV's mission is to bring to the project its expertise in imaging and design of complex systems with optical and laser core.
In this context, ALPhANOV will develop several sensor demonstrators which will be industrialized by EDIT or PRODITEC and then integrated on the TEONYS platform:

  • Infrared Multispectral Moisture Sensor for Inspection of Capsules (WP1),
  • Design and implementation of an infrared multispectral imaging (WP2),
  • Design and production of an infrared multispectral scanner demonstrator dedicated to the inspection of powdered materials on conveyors (WP3).


Overall budget: EUR 3.4 million


Funding: BPI France


Share knowledge on laser-based equipment and its use throughout the value chain


About the project:


LASHARE is an European project, bringing together 32 SMEs and six research centers. They are among the most renowned ones in the field of industrial laser applications.

The objective of the project is to gather and develop knowledge about industrial laser systems and their use throughout the value chain in order to improve productivity and online control of manufacturing processes ... This sharing will allow the approach of the whole value chain. The transformation of innovative solutions from laboratories into industrial products and the dissemination of their use in industry are at the heart of the project. These are key success factors for European manufacturing.

The LASHARE project is divided into several LEAs (Laser Equipment Assessment), each of which involves different operators including a laser equipment supplier, an industrial user and a research partner. This cohesion makes it possible to move from a validated laboratory technology to a sufficiently mature equipment for industrial use.


ALPhANOV's role:

The LASHARE project involves several phases. During the first phase (September 2013 - September 2015), ALPhANOV was engaged in two LEAs: TEETO and FEMPAR.


A call for projects was launched in February 2015. Following this, ALPhANOV embarked on the second phase of the LASHARE project within 2 LEAs: LASAO and SCALP.

  • TEETO develops laser-based equipment for processing of thin films with a sub nanosecond laser source.
  • FEMPAR develops laser-based equipment to engrave dies for the production of coins.
  • LASAO aims to validate a closed loop control wave front correction system.
  • SCALP aims to validate a 3D laser scanning and laser cutting system for the production of vehicles for disabled drivers.


Partners: A total of 68 partners.
In the LEA, LASAO and SCALP:

  • TEETO: Teem Photonics and Micel
  • FEMPAR: Amplitude Systèmes and Monnaie de Paris
  • LASAO: Imagine Optic and Argolight
  • SCALP: ACA and Faro Europe

Overall budget: EUR 11 million

Funding: European Commission

Cutting Transparent Materials

ALPhANOV has already developed deep know-how and excellent expertise in the cutting of transparent materials.





In the frame of the Femtoweld collaborative project between Amplitude Systèmes, the CELIA laboratory (intense lasers and applications center) and ALPhANOV, a cutting edge cutting method has been developed and a patent application has been filed on this subject.


More specifically, this method can be employed for cutting toughened glass, non-tempered glass or crystalline materials. It uses a particular shaping of the laser beam called Bessel beam.

The Bessel beam is an elongated laser beam which allows to achieve material modification lengths in the material volume of the order of one hundred microns. This relatively long length allows cutting with a reduced number of passes and and high speed (1m/s), leading to a short machining time. The cut is made without ablation, it is straight and accuracies of the order of one micrometer can be reached.


For this process, typically a femtosecond or sub-picosecond laser, with a near-infrared wavelength, is employed.


Examples of use are:

  • Consumer Electronics
  • Screen cut






Develop and commercialize an innovative system allowing the metallurgical processing of parts intended for aeronautics by laser shock.


About the project:


The HELIAM (High Energy Lasers for Improved Aeronautic Materials) project, approved by the Route des Lasers in 2013, aims to develop and commercialize an innovative process based on the laser shock peening of metallic parts mainly for the aerospace market. Absorption on the metal surface or ablative layer of high energy nanosecond pulses rapidly ionizes and vaporizes more of the surface material to rapidly form a plasma. This rapid plasma expansion creates a shock wave that penetrates into the metal, plastically straining the near surface layer to a depth ten times greater than the one achieved by conventional methods such as shot blasting, which consequently enhances the fatigue lifetime and provides resistance to stress corrosion cracking and fretting fatigue. Laser innovation makes it possible to make a significant leap on the LSP technology which becomes portable.


ALPhANOV’s role:


ALPhANOV's mission is to design and produce a nanosecond fiber driver delivering energies of several hundred μJ at 1064 nm. This beam should also have a spatial profile as close as possible to the diffraction limit and a thorough control of the pulse shapes with a very high dynamic range.



Overall budget: EUR 3 million


Funding: Région Nouvelle-Aquitaine

Surface preparation before bonding


Improving bonding of structural elements usually requires techniques that modify the surface chemistry (by soaking in chemical baths) or the surface morphology (by sandblasting). However, these well-known techniques can be quite difficult to implement considering all the stages of implementation (waste management, HSE, etc...). In addition, the 2007 European REACH regulation forbids nowadays the use of certain chemicals (including Cr (VI)) in all manufacturing processes.


ALPhANOV has developed a method to replace these conventional techniques with a non-contact chemical-free surface preparation technique by laser surface processing.


This process requires the use of nanosecond laser sources emitting in the UV, the visible or the IR (according to the type of applications) and has been successfully carried on metallic surfaces (Al--Ti) and on CFRP composites.


Application fields are very diverse:

  • Aeronautics
  • Aerospace
  • Automotive






Welding Transparent Materials


The welding of transparent materials is carried out via a femtosecond near-infrared laser focused by a high numerical aperture lens and coupled to precision micrometer stages. 


Thanks to the transparency of the sample at the wavelength of the laser beam, only the interface between the two pieces is impacted. The welding is permanent unlike glue welding, because it is done without an additional material therefore removing the risks of aging, degassing and so on. The process is carried at high speed (up to 100 mm /s).


The process can be used on different materials:

  • Glass
  • Crystals
  • Heterogeneous welding with metal or ceramic

And it finds application in several fields:

  • Clock
  • Optoelectronics
  • Optics






Create a new non-destructive testing - NDT - technology that can lead to easy assembly qualification and control.


About the project:


Since September 2015, the COMPOCHOC project, steered by RESCOLL, has developed a platform for the non-destructive testing of laser shock bonding (LASAT process).
The LASAT technology notably allows to demonstrate weak bondings or kissbondings and meets the technical limitations of detection of this type of defects with CND methods conventionally used in industry (ultrasound, radiography, shearography, etc.).
The laser shock allows to apply a mechanical stress calibrated at the level of the bonding. In the case of defective adhesions with low adhesion, a detachment is observed, if the bonding is in conformity, no damage is identified.


ALPhANOV’s role:

The role of ALPhANOV is to mainly focus on the development of the electronics and the optical chain of the laser’s first stages, which must deliver the pulses of stress of the assembly under test.



Overall budget: EUR 4.7 million


Funding: Fonds Unique Interministériel des Pôles de Compétitivité operated by BPI France

Transparent material refractive-index modification


ALPhANOV has launched a new R&D project on refractive-index modification in transparent materials by near-infrared or green femtosecond laser focused using a high numerical aperture lens and coupled to micrometric precision stages.


The refractive-index modification is carried out only in the region of the focal point, leading to modification areas of linear dimension up to 3 μm and depth of about 5 μm. Bylocally modiying successive areas, all the geometries can be realized (lines, squares, rounds, cylinders, ...).


The process can be used on different materials:

  • Glass
  • Doped glass
  • Polymer
  • Crystals

With Applications in:

  • Decoration
  • Phase mask 






Machining without taper



ALPhANOV is equipped with a drilling head that allows the laser beam to be tilted on the target, thus avoiding the angle of taper traditionally observed during laser ablation of cavities. This drilling head, combined with a femtosecond laser, has enabled ALPhANOV to develop non-conical and non-thermal machining processes on various materials such as metals and ceramics with thicknesses up to few mm.


With an average power of more than 20 W and energy per pulse up to 100 μJ for a pulse duration of less than 350 fs, this technology that combines productivity and quality of machining is intended for various applications such as:

  • Automotive
  • Clock
  • Research  




Development of ultrafast laser processing for advanced mobile displays.


About the project:


UPMOST (Ultrafast laser Processing for MObile diSplay Technology) is devoted to the development of a non-thermal, ultra-precision machining process utilizing femtosecond lasers and novel optical systems for beam shaping and pulse shaping. The aim is to provide a fully customized fabrication mean for high resolution mobile displays as submicron precision is required as the pixel size of such HD displays decreases.


ALPhANOV's role:


Developing innovative processes to overcome the challenges posed by the complex multi-layered geometry of electronic screens, always smaller pixels and the use of sensitive organic materials. These developments aim to define the characteristic quantities of the laser / material interaction (ablation thresholds, material flow rate, penetration depth per pulse) for various materials, in particular, organic materials, used in the manufacture of electronic screens.




Overall budget: EUR 2.57 million



Cutting/drilling glass

The machining of transparent and fragile materials is a challenge from a technical point of view.


ALPhANOV has developed a method for cutting and drilling conventional glass by visible nanosecond laser, as well as tempered glass (gorilla glass, eagle glass) and sapphire by infrared femtosecond laser.


The glass cutting is made by the so-called bottom-up machining strategy, which allows to obtain a tapering angle next to zero.


This technology applies to various applications in the fields of:

  • Watch industry
  • Photovoltaic






Surface functionalization (wettability, emissivity, decoration, tribology)



Surface functionalization by laser texturing makes it possible to give new functions and properties to a material by creating nano or micro-scale features on the material surface, as for instance laser induced periodic surface structures (LIPSS) or "spike" type structures. 


The structures functionalizing the surface are chosen according to the nature of the treated material and the function that one wishes to give to the material. Thus the LIPPS generated by the interaction of an ultrashort pulse beam and the material are used on metallic materials or crystals to modify their wettability or to modify their optical properties. By increasing the energy deposition, the amplitude of these structures increases to reach spike-type structures that are able to reproduce the lotus effect, making the surface super-hydrophobic. These structures under certain conditions act as a light trap to render the surface black or to modify its emissivity in the infrared. Finally, the etching of geometric structures controlled with lasers having pulse duration up to the nanosecond allows, for any type of material, to improve the tribological properties of the surfaces or to modify their wettability.


Since 2012, ALPhANOV has acquired expertise on this theme, as recognized by being a finalist for the 2015 Prism-Awards at SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco in the Laser-engineered surfaces category and by participating in numerous European projects on the subject.

Applications are very diverse:

  • Space
  • Home appliance
  • Food packaging
  • Clock
  • Medical
  • Research



Nanometric machining


Thanks to its know-how and process stations optimized for high precision laser machining, ALPhANOV can perform machining with accuracies of the order of one micrometer by employing near-infrared, green, or UV femtosecond lasers focused by a high numerical aperture lens and coupled to micrometric precision stages.


This machining technique allows to avoid thermal effects and to preserve the integrity of the material outside the area to be machined: the precision and the quality of the machining are thus greatly improved.


The process can be used on different materials:

  • Transparent materials
  • Metals
  • Ceramics


  • Calibration charts
  • Electronics





Drilling/cutting of composite materials

ALPhANOV has developed a laser drilling and cutting process of CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer) composites.


These materials, which are found in a growing number of applications to replace metal parts, are indeed difficult to machine. The use of conventional mechanical means can induce delamination within the composite material due to the pressure exerted by the tools on the material.


With laser technology, the risk of delamination is minimized thanks to the contactless machining method. Nevertheless, this material presents thermomechanical anisotropic properties (between the fiber network and the polymer matrix), and it is therefore necessary to employ the proper laser sources (IR or UV, ns or fs) depending on the desired applications.


This method allows also to perform a controlled ablation of the epoxy resin without attacking the underlying fiber network.


This technique finds application in several fields:

  • Aeronautic
  • Aerospace
  • Automotive






Metal polishing


A metal polishing process has been developed by ALPhANOV in the frame of automotive applications, using a continuous or pulsed (QCW, ms-μs) 1070 nm laser sources.


This laser-based process is quick and automatized, and allows polishing on areas which are not easily accessible by conventional techniques. 






Health applications

ALPhANOV also develops processes in the field of health and biology.


For example, a partnership is on-going with INSERM on a R&D project on the vascularization of blood vessels by laser.


Another project in collaboration with the CELIA laboratory (High Intensity Laser and Applications Center) and the University Hospital of Nice concerns the development of a process allowing the removal of colored tattoo with reduction of pain and therefore without anesthesia.


For this, generally femtosecond or picosecond lasers with near-infrared or green wavelengths are employed.

  • Blood Supply and vascularization systems
  • Cornea Cutting
  • Preparation of surgical tools (filing of a patent)






Ultra-short pulse laser ablation allows the production of stable colloidals of nanoparticles in liquid solution, without using any chemicals.



ALPhANOV has developed expertise in the production of nanoparticles in liquid solution by laser ablation which is a simple, clean and adaptable technique: customers and partners can thus have nanoparticle solutions with a wide choice of liquids and materials.


Two different methods are employed at ALPhANOV for nanoparticle colloids production: the laser ablation method and the laser fragmentation method: a micrometric particle is reduced to nanometric dimension after the interaction with the laser beam. This way it makes it possible to produce nanoparticles in liquid solution while avoiding the limitations of the traditional techniques which often use chemical methods. It is simple to implement and it is perfect for prototyping nanoparticles of complex materials.


The nanoparticles proposed by ALPhANOV, virgin of any contaminant, can thus be used in many fields:

  • biomedicine
  • materials science 
  • nanotechnologies





Production of a supercontinuum medium infrared source.


About the project:


Miracle (Mid infraRed Advanced superContinuum LasEr) is a collaborative project involving the companies Leukos and Le Verre Fluoré as well as ALPhANOV. It aims to develop a supercontinuum laser emitting wavelengths ranging from 2 microns to 5.3 microns with an average power greater than 4 W. Such a source finds its utility in optical detection, spectroscopy, biophotonics, food and chemical analyses.


ALPhANOV's role:


ALPhANOV is developing a laser emitting a wavelength of 2 μm and operating in pulsed picosecond (ps) or sub-nanosecond (ns) mode. This laser will serve as a pump for the generation of supercontinuum in the fibers developed by Fluoride Glass. The company LEUKOS is the coordinator and the pilot of the project but also the final integrator of the product. Another innovative aspect of this project is the development of silica glass and fluoride glass welding processes, which will be realized by ALPhANOV.




Overall budget: EUR 1.4 million


Funding: DGA

Laser hardening/LSP


ALPhANOV, as partner of Heliam and Heliam II project, is currently developing a process that allows for deeper hardening than a conventional sand-blasting technique. Through this process, the life of the parts is extended thanks to better resistance to fatigue and corrosion.


This process employes a green/IR nanosecond (7 nanoseconds) source emitting very high energy pulses at low repetition rates (10-100 Hz). 


This process can be carried out on aluminum 2024 or metal alloys in the frame of various applications:

  • Aeronautics
  • Automotive
  • Aerospace
  • Nuclear



A metal polishing process has been developed by ALPhANOV in the frame of automotive applications, using a continuous or pulsed (QCW, ms-μs) 1070 nm laser sources.


This laser-based process is quick and automatized, and allows polishing on areas which are not easily accessible by conventional techniques. 







Develop new surface micro/nanostructure methods using emerging SP / USP laser technologies


About the project:


The aim of the Laser4fun project is to develop new surface micro / nano-structuring methods (LIPSS, DLIP, DLW and their possible combination) using SP / USP laser technologies.

The main research activity of the project will focus on the laser / material interaction (metals, semiconductors, polymers) and the generation of new morphologies giving the surface innovative key functionalities in the fields of tribology. aesthetics and wettability.


ALPhANOV's role:


ALPhANOV will study and carry out the scaling up of a metal laser blackening process for the appliance industry. During the study, we will use ultra-low power industrial laser sources with high average power and high repetition rates with fast scanning systems. This will achieve high productivities compatible with the industry.




Overall budget: EUR 3.5 million


Funding: EU

Metal modeling


ALPhANOV is currently developing a metal modeling process using a continuous or pulsed QCW laser source (ms-μs) emitting at 1070 nm with an average power up to 300 W (3 kW of peak power) which is focused via a F-theta lens and displaced by a galvanometric scanner.


This method is quicker with respect to conventional ablation techniques, it allows for faster prototyping and shape dimensions up to 1 - 1.5 mm in height.


This technology can be used for different applications:

  • Mold industry
  • Automotive
  • Decoration  






Additive manufacturing


ALPhANOV is currently developing, within the frame of the ADDIMAFIL project, a wire-assisted additive manufacturing process on the metal alloy by laser. This additive manufacturing process allows faster prototyping, reduce material waste and permits manufacturing of pieces which treatment was not possible by conventional way of machining.


The process employs a 1 μm continuous infrared laser with average power from several hundreds of W up to kW, whose beam can be shaped to optimize the fusion process 


This process is often used in the aeronautical field. 








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