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Title: Laser generation and applications of micron and submicron scale features on metals
Author: Lloyd, Robert William
ISNI:       0000 0004 2708 6676
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis describes the formation of and applications of self-assembled structures on metals. Primarily the focus of this PhD project is on the formation of surfaces structures on stainless steel (AISI 304) but other metals have been studied. Laser generated surface structures have been applied to the modification of wettability and reflectivity with a view towards developing these processes for industrial applications. Compared to conventional techniques for the modification of wettabililty, lasers offer the advantage of being a relatively simple technique for the modification of surface structure, reducing the need for complex processes. It is hoped that investigations into the reduction of surface reflectivity will have applications in the conversion of solar energy into useable power in the form of solar thermal energy. The production of self assembled structures is demonstrated using diode pumped solid state (DPSS) Nd:YVO4 lasers operating at wavelengths of 532 and 1064 nm. It is shown that the production of surface microstructures is highly dependant on the correct laser fluence and requires multiple pulses and processing passes. At 1064 nm wavelengths, it has been found highly reproducible surface structures can be formed by carefully controlling laser fluence and scanning speed while keeping the optical arrangement relatively simple. In addition to microstructure formation, the use of ultrafast femtosecond lasers, operating at 400 and 800 nm wavelengths has verified the production of laser induced periodic surface structures. Additionally, the stationary method used to produce these surfaces has been adapted to cover large surface areas with sub wavelength ripple structures with periods of ~295nm and 600nm. Applications of laser surface microstructures on metals have been studied in an effort to produce hydrophobic and superhydrophobic surfaces on metals. It has been found that the roughness change produced by laser processing induces composite wetting when water droplets are introduced to the surface. Contact angle measurements and small angle XRD analysis of laser processed stainless steel (AISI 304) have shown that surface wettability decreased over a period of approximately one month, leading to steady contact angles of over 140°. This is attributed to the formation of a magnetite (Fe3O4) oxide layer in the period after laser processing. The effect of surface microstructure on surface reflectivity has also been studied. It was found that laser induced surface microstructures on copper can decrease surface reflectivity by almost 90%. A comparative study of the effects of surface roughness and chemistry on the optical absorption of copper is given, finding that these surfaces are competitive with contemporary coatings.
Supervisor: Liu, Zhu Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Laser ; Surface Features ; Hydrophobic ; Optical Absorption ; Microstructure ; Nanostructure