The Laboratory for Ultra-Precision and Micro Engineering (LPME) is a new research building at TU Kaiserslautern that will be ready for occupancy in 2023. In the research building, scientists from mechanical engineering, process engineering, physics, and computer science work on the fundamental understanding of the complex scale effects and interactions by which manufacturing and characterization are defined at the level of ultra-precision and microtechnologies.
Ultraprecision and microtechnologies are among the key technologies of the 21st century. Whether in medical technology, optics, or consumer goods of everyday life, ultra-precision and micro-technologies are increasingly used. Thanks to them, it is possible to produce surfaces of components in the micro range, examine them, and equip them with new properties. Ultra-precision and micro-technologies are strongly characterized by economies of scale. The physical effects that are involved during manufacturing and characterization differ significantly from the macroscale. For example, the behavior of typical materials is inhomogeneous and anisotropic on the microscale, electrical and electrostatic effects (e.g. van der Waals forces) are significant for the manufacturing result, and metrological dimensions have to be measured where physical effects (e.g. diffraction) have to be considered that are not relevant on the macroscale. These scale effects must also be taken into account in modeling, simulation, and visualization of the results and require new scientific approaches here as well.
The overall goal and expected research outcome is a fundamental understanding of the complex scale effects and interactions by which manufacturing and characterization are defined at the micro-scale. This understanding will allow manufacturing processes to be mastered, component quality to be predicted with a high degree of confidence, and, as a consequence, entirely new applications for ultra-precision and micro-technology to be developed.
The planned research will be carried out in four interdisciplinary research areas, which are interlinked and bring together expertise from mechanical engineering, process engineering, physics, and computer science in a common research program.
Investigation of separating and additive processes for microstructuring of surfaces, coating of microstructures, and ultra-precise manufacturing of components from different material classes.
Investigation of functionally important properties of the fabricated components, in particular the component edge layer.
3. MODELING AND SIMULATION
Development of novel simulation techniques that take into account the specifics of ultra-precision and micromachining.
Realization of scientific and prototypical industrial applications in medical technology, optics, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), mechanical engineering, and automotive engineering.