The LPKF ProtoLaser R4 is a highly specialized precision picosecond laser system for research and development labs. The ultrashort pulse laser system further enhances the micromachining capabilities of the existing LPKF portfolio of turn-key, plug-and-play laser systems. Just six months after the product was launched the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) purchased and installed the first one in Germany.

The Institute of Radio Frequency Engineering and Electronics (IHE) at KIT can investigate innovative materials with the highest precision thanks to the latest laser technology. This research is accelerated through use of the system in conjunction with in-house production. Institute staff and students are thus well equipped for the future with the LPKF ProtoLaser R4.

Thanks to ProtoLaser R4’s ultrashort laser pulses in the picosecond range, the IHE at KIT can etch and cut both thermally sensitive and very thin materials with outstanding results. All other common materials used in the electronics industry, from FR4 to extremely hard fired ceramics can be cut with the highest possible quality due to the unique properties of the high-speed picosecond pulse frequency.  “Users of the new machine are pleased with the easy handling, which is made possible by the perfected, user-friendly LPKF CircuitPro software. This also applies to the compact design, which can easily be integrated into the lab,” reports Jan-Hendrik Guttmann, who familiarizes users at KIT with the system.

With years of experience under his belt, Stefan Kiel of the LPKF laser sales team also knows how difficult it can be to get approval for larger investments at public institutions on short notice, “Budgets are planned for the long term and the bureaucratic hurdles for larger investments are often high. The very fast procurement confirms the urgent need for high-precision, turn-key laser systems at research institutes,” he stated.

LPKF presented the ProtoLaser R4 for the first time in January 2020 at the NEPCON trade show in Japan. Following the first ProtoLaser R4 sale to a university in California, KIT is now the first institute in Europe to drive innovative pioneering projects with the LPKF ProtoLaser R4. “The institute employees have ambitious goals and innovative ideas that they would like to realize with our new laser system for research,” Jan-Hendrik Guttmann discovered during the orientation.