Molded parts with functional surfaces - how laser microstructuring can be used for low-cost mass products
Lasers in Manufacturing (LiM)
Microstructuring via ultrashort pulse laser enables the targeted generation of functional surface structures. With this technology, progress in material behavior has been shown in tribological, optical and haptical properties, liquid wettability and cell adhesion. In cases where the effect is mainly based on the laser-generated microstructures instead of laser-induced chemical changes of the surface material, injection molding offers a possibility to make the usually high-priced laser surface functionalization accessible to low-cost mass products. This technique leaves the chemistry of the molded parts unaffected, which makes it especially attractive for biomedical applications. Molding inverts the surface topography and can be associated with resolution, durability and demoldability restrictions. We present our current results and findings on basic as well as on application-oriented issues. Selected applications including a technique for piracy protection are discussed.