Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest news and events from TWI:

Subscribe >
Skip to content

Surface Modification and Micro-Machining with Pulsed-Laser Sources

Back to Core Research Programme 33632-2021-review-of-materials-am-and-nde-considerations-for-functionally-graded-materials 34236-2023-literature-review-on-the-potential-use-of-non-destructive-testing-techniques-for-residual-stress-measurement 34241-2023-artificial-intelligence-for-ndt-scanning-of-unknown-geometries-using-collaborative-robots 34459-2022-friction-stir-welding-of-pressure-vessel-liners-for-the-storage-and-transportation-of-hydrogen 34727-2023-techniques-for-high-temperature-ultrasonic-inspection-of-arc-welding-state-of-the-art-review 34793-2023-update-on-literature-reviews-for-wire-fed-additive-manufacturing 34847-2023-Literature-review-on-crack-length-measurement-techniques-on-environmental-fracture-toughness-tests 35268-2024-Literature-review-on-dual-sensing-applications-for-SHM-of-pipelines 32221-2020-hybrid-composite-to-metal-joining 32893-2020-mechanical-fastener-coatings-for-corrosion-protection 33557-2020-extreme-high-speed-laser-application-ehla-coatings 33557-2020-extreme-high-speed-laser-application-ehla-coatings 33557-2020-extreme-high-speed-laser-application-ehla-coatings 33557-2020-review-of-electric-vehicle-battery-joining-methods-and-testing 34250-2022-thermoplastic-materials-compatibility-for-hydrogen-service A Review of High Power, In-Vacuum and Narrow Gap Laser Welding Processes for Thick Section Welding A Review of High Productivity Additive Manufacture Using a Hybrid Laser-Arc Deposition (HLAD) Process A Review of Micro Welding with Fibre and Disc Continuous-Wave Laser Sources A Review of Residual Stress Measurement Techniques Used for Components Produced Using the Selective Laser Melting Process A Review of the Machine GTAW Ambient Temperature Temper Bead Repair Technique for Nuclear Power Plant Components A Review of Weld Repairs of Mar-M247 and Similar Alloys Applications, Modelling and Manufacturing Processes for Perforated Composites - Literature Review Butt Fusion Welding Procedures and Test Methods Used for PE Pipes Duplex Stainless Steel Welding – A Review of Current Practices Elastic Follow-Up in the Context of Fracture Assessment Flaw Sizing Techniques Using Guided Waves Flaw Sizing Techniques Using Guided Waves Flaw Sizing Techniques Using Guided Waves In-Bore Multi-Positional Laser Welding In-Process Monitoring of Arc Welding for Quality and Defect Detection Mechanical Fastening Technologies for Steel to Aluminium Joining in Automotive Manufacture Process Capability Study for Friction Stir Spot Welding (FSSW) Resistance Spot Welding with Transition Discs – A Review of Dissimilar Joining Using Transition Materials with Specific Reference to Resistance Spot Welding Review of Process Simulations for Metal Additive Manufacturing Surface Modification and Micro-Machining with Pulsed-Laser Sources Wire Fed Electron Beam Additive Manufacture – A State-of-the-Art Review
Capabilities Banner
Innerpage Title Banner

TWI Technical Literature Review 25286

By A Wilson


Extensive studies have been published on surface treatment methods (Ebnesajjad and Ebnesajjad, 2006). Typically, surface treatments are used to prepare surfaces for adhesive bonding, coating or joining, or conversely to create a hydrophobic or oliophobic surface structure. Lasers offer several advantages, complementing the range of surface modification techniques, which include plasma, corona discharge, mechanical abrasion and chemical methods.  

The attributes of lasers include: 

  • Limited thermal damage to components (negligible heat-affected zone)(HAZ). 
  • Extremely precise (~10µm repeatability). 
  • Contactless machining at the micro/nano level. 
  • Applicable across a wide range of material types. 
  • Negligible consumables requirement.

Excimer laser and Nd:YAG laser treatments have been very successful in improving the adhesion properties of poly(etheretherketone) (PEEK) and polypropylene (PP,) amongst other polymers. There is a wide range of gases (for example xenon mono-chloride (XeCl) and krypton fluoride (KrF) which can be used to produce various wavelengths of light (usually in the ultraviolet (UV)), tailored to each polymer. While excimer laser treatment is very successful and has been studied extensively, there is a desire to move towards fibre lasers, to negate the need for consumable toxic gases. There are fewer investigations of PP and PEEK treated with such laser sources, especially fibre lasers, and ultrashort pulsed-lasers. 

Additionally, laser micro-machining is an increasingly active field, particularly in the pulsed-lasers industry. Laser micro-machining is a topic that covers several areas of laser microprocessing, including laser engraving/scribing, drilling, cutting, polishing, marking and even laser welding in some cases. In this document, laser micro-machining will largely refer to laser engraving/scribing.  

This review focuses on the laser surface modification of polymers and stainless steels (SSs) and the laser micro-machining of SSs and titanium (Ti) alloys. Specifically, AISI 316L stainless steel (SS) and Ti-6Al-4V alloys are used extensively in applications where tribological properties and corrosion resistance are important. 

This literature review is arranged as: 

  • Fundamentals of pulsed-lasers and pulsed-laser-material interaction.
  • Laser surface modification.
  • Laser micro-machining.

For more information please email: