A novel project using laser technology to improve existing glass-cutting techniques is set to revolutionise glass processing capabilities across the industry.

Independent research and development, consultancy and testing facility, Glass Technology Services Ltd (GTS) is working with the University of Leeds and drawing upon the success of a number of photonics and laser research projects to develop the new technology in the “Bright Slice” project, funded by a £93K grant from the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board.

This project addresses process issues experienced when cutting flat glass substrates through the development of a novel glass-cutting technique. The aim is to utilise lasers emitting radiation at specific absorption bands within the glass material to generate thermal stresses to initiate defects within the bulk material. These will then be propagated using a secondary energy pulse.

The process promises to deliver a cleaner, safer more cost-effective process with a payback of less than two years. If successful the technology offers a step-change in glass processing capabilities and has the potential to be applied across several other sectors (e.g. tableware, glass fibres, photonics, optical glass, solar panels etc.).

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