November 17--Fraunhofer USA recently won four major awards amounting to $2.9 million from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Diode lasers, alternative energy sources, and carbon-based coatings were the big winners. These research and development projects will enhance job opportunities for Michigan.
The Fraunhofer Center for Laser Technology (CLT) won three of the four awards. Their biggest award was for developing a novel diode laser at low cost and then transferring the technology to the Michigan-based laser manufacturer Visotek. They will also create new applications for the laser in automotive manufacturing and in the homeland security market.
Fraunhofer CLT will also develop laser processing technologies tailored to the packaging and assembly of alternative energy sources and storage devices, such as high capacity batteries and fuel cells. These will be used for hybrid electric vehicles as well as other advanced power storage systems.
New types of laser joining of dissimilar materials will be identified in their third project. Of particular importance is the design flexibility that can be achieved in miniaturized optoelectronic and micro-electromechanical (MEMS) and bio-MEMS devices used exclusively in the telecommunications and medical implant/device industries.
Carbon-based materials and coatings was the winning project for Fraunhofer's Center for Coatings and Laser Applications. The benefits of carbon-based coatings are its electrical, thermal, optical, and mechanical properties. Industrial applications range from the automotive industry to biocompatible implants, fuel cells, cell phones, and MEMS, sensor technologies, optical and electronic applications.