Mid-IR frequency combs redefine industrial surface hardening

Industrial Surface Hardening Schematics

Plasma science, industrial surface hardening, and frequency combs: at first glance, not your everyday combination of subjects. But a project consortium is bringing together experts from the Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology (INP), neoplas control, RÜBIG, and Menlo Systems to tackle a blind spot in process control of plasma-based surface treatments. Their goal is to significantly reduce use of energy and resources, and to set new standards in environmental sustainability. For the first time, real-time monitoring of several process-relevant species in a nitriding plasma has been accomplished under real-world conditions. The set-up, employed in RÜBIG's factory halls, consisted of a cross-dispersive spectrometer developed by INP, data processing algorithms developed by neoplas control - and Menlo Systems' Mid-IR optical frequency comb.

The article "Industrial surface hardening: Shining a light on process control" is available online in Laser Focus World and will appear in the July print issue.