Automated polarization control for the precise alignment of laser-induced self-organized nanostructures
Laser-induced periodic surface structures (LIPSS) found in particular applications in the fields of surface functionalization have been investigated since many years. The direction of these ripple structures with a periodicity in the nanoscale can be manipulated by changing the laser polarization. For industrial use, it is useful to manipulate the direction of these structures automatically and to obtain smooth changes of their orientation without any visible inhomogeneity. However, currently no system solution exists that is able to control the polarization direction completely automated in one software solution so far. In this paper, a system solution is presented that includes a liquid crystal polarizer to control the polarization direction. It is synchronized with a scanner, a dynamic beam expander and a five axis-system. It provides fast switching times and small step sizes. First results of fabricated structures are also presented. In a systematic study, the conjunction of LIPSS with different orientation in two parallel line scans has been investigated.