The UK innovation agency (Innovate UK) has launched a new 30-month project called UltraWELD, which aims to improve airtight bonding in OLED lighting for aerospace and defense applications. The project partners will develop photonic-based processes for highly dissimilar material joining.
Current dissimilar materials joining is mainly done using adhesive bonding - a highly flexible and low cost process, but one that cannot provide truly hermetic bonds, which reduces the performance of the panels and can lead to optical damage.
The new process under development uses high repetition rate ultra-fast lasers to achieve high precision laser welding in confined glass-metal interfaces. The project partners will -also explore secondary benefits, such as airtight sealing for vacuum insulated glazing including toughened safety glass on metal for lightweight vehicle windows, hermetic sealing of microfluidic devices and glass window bonding to silicon PV panels to protect against moisture.
The project consortium includes the CPI institute, OxfordLasers, Glass Technology Services, Coherent, Heriot Watt University, Gooch & Housego and Leonardo MW.