ICALEO 2017, held in Atlanta October 22-26, was a great success technically and socially, but for unexplained reasons was down a bit in overall attendance (some suggested the southeast is not a hotbed for laser material processing development), exhibitors (same reason as previous) at the Vendor Session, and total number of papers (under 150). Overall quality was high, though, and that's what really counts.
Industrial Laser Solutions was well represented, with myself and Editorial Advisors Tony Hoult, Stan Ream, Ron Schaeffer, Kunihiko Washio, Geoff Shannon, and Bo Gu in attendance. We were able to go our separate ways after the Plenary Session, covering as many of the sessions as seven warm bodies could without too much overlap. A morning of my time was given over to the Business Session, where Bo Gu and I defined the World and China markets for industrial lasers.
I asked each Editorial Advisor to pick out specific papers and posters that most attracted their attention. This can be a difficult task with the larger number presented, but some stand out for more than technical reasons. Here for your edification are the picks, presented anonymously.
The paper by Masanori Miyagi (Hitachi) and Yousuke Kawahito (Osaka University), titled "Direct Observation of Cracking and Weld Pool Formation in Laser Welding of Al Alloy by X-ray Phase Contrast Method," showed real-time videos that were amazing, and identified the gaseous composition of the porosity nicely (it's air!).
Three posters on blue diode welding of copper containing compounds got our attention. One titled "Laser Welding Copper with a High-Power CW Blue Laser" by Matthew Finuf et al. (Nuburu) looked like an application that might take off especially in the battery industry, welding 30-40 layers of thin copper/aluminum foils for batteries with apparently little porosity. "Metal Powder Bed Fusion Additive Manufacturing with 100W Blue Diode Laser" by Shin-Ichiro Masuno et al. (Osaka University) and "Effect of Laser Wavelength from Blue to IR on Pure Copper film Formation by Laser Cladding" by Ritsuko Higashino et al. (also from Osaka University) showed that the blue laser with output power of 100W from a 100µm core fiber are capable of localized melting and welding of copper.
Three papers that stood out were "Accelerating the Additive Manufacturing revolution" by Florian Bechmann (Concept Laser), "3D Numerical Modeling of Short Pulsed Laser Micromachining Applications" by Zibin Lin et al. (ESI), and "Programmable Spatial Beam Shaping for Femtosecond Lasers" by Eric Mottay et al. (Amplitude Systèmes), where the example shown was creating 2D codes changing on the fly without a scan head, with the complete code instantaneously marked. This could be great for high-volume marking applications.
In "Thin section Dissimilar Welding with a ns Pulsed Fiber Laser," Jack Gabdzyl (SPI Lasers) expanded on previous work, so it was not exactly new—but it is impressive as far as what can be welded with a 200W pulsed fiber laser, and the metallurgy is even more interesting. "Superhydrophobic and Superhydrophylic Surfaces by ps Laser Texturing" by Suwas Nikumb et al. (NRC Canada) was also not new, but the functional surfaces created and wetting/non wetting angles achieved were impressive.