Applications of Lasers in Polymer Science

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Polymer Processing and Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 5 November 2024 | Viewed by 7729

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Accelerator Laboratory, High Energy Accelerator Research Organization, 1-1 Oho, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0801, Japan
Interests: amyloid; biopolymers; infrared laser; terahertz radiation
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Polymers can be categorized mainly into two-kinds of compounds, synthetic and natural ones. The former includes industrially useful polymers such as fluorine-containing materials, versatile plastics such as polyethylene terephthalate and polymethyl methacrylate, and synthetic rubbers. Those polymers can be developed for daily necessities, compositions in industrial machines, and basic materials of semiconductors. The latter contains cellulose, lignin, chitin, chitosan, keratin, and natural rubbers. An important character of those polymers is a persistency, and recently, those non-degradable materials representative as microplastics have been getting attention as environmental pollution materials. Degradation and recycling of those persistent polymers are challenging and important subject that we should work on towards realizing sustainable society today.

Lasers are advanced devices for various usages in processing and degradation of not only hard materials but also soft matters, and for therapeutic technologies. In particular, free electron laser is developed as wavelength-tunable and high-power lasers from UV to far-infrared regions. Its use is widely ranged from the structural analysis of biological polymers to the processing tool for high-molecular weight solid materials.

In this special issue, application studies of lasers in the wide ranges for various polymers such as laser processing, laser ablation, laser therapy, physicochemical interaction of lasers with polymers, and laser degradations of biopolymers are welcome. Biological polymers such as proteins and carbohydrates are also targeted by lasers. 

Dr. Takayasu Kawasaki
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • laser processing
  • degradation
  • infrared
  • visible
  • ultraviolet
  • vibrational excitation
  • terahertz
  • fabrication
  • therapy

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

12 pages, 2875 KiB  
Article
Polyvinylalcohol Composite Filled with Carbon Dots Produced by Laser Ablation in Liquids
by Mariapompea Cutroneo, Letteria Silipigni, Petr Malinsky, Petr Slepicka, Domenico Franco and Lorenzo Torrisi
Polymers 2024, 16(10), 1390; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16101390 - 13 May 2024
Viewed by 750
Abstract
Carbon dots (CDs), owing to their excellent photoluminescent features, have been extensively studied for physics preparation methods and for biomedical and optoelectronic device applications. The assessment of the applicability of CDs in the production of luminescent polymeric composites used in LEDs, displays, sensors, [...] Read more.
Carbon dots (CDs), owing to their excellent photoluminescent features, have been extensively studied for physics preparation methods and for biomedical and optoelectronic device applications. The assessment of the applicability of CDs in the production of luminescent polymeric composites used in LEDs, displays, sensors, and wearable devices is being pursued. The present study reports on an original, environmentally friendly, and low-cost route for the production of carbon dots with an average size of 4 nm by laser ablation in liquid. Jointly, to prove the significance of the study for a wide range of applications, a free-standing flexible polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) composite containing photoluminescent carbon dots was manufactured. CDs were prepared using targets of porose charcoal with a density of 0.271 g/cm3 placed in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) liquid solution and irradiated for 30 min by pulsed IR diode laser. The optical properties of the obtained suspension containing carbon dots were studied with UV-ViS and FTIR spectroscopies. The photoluminescence of the produced carbon dots was confirmed by the emission peak at 480 nm in the luminescence spectrum. A narrow luminescence band with a full width at half-maximum (FWHM) of less than 40 nm could be an asset in spectral emission analysis in different applications. Atomic force microscopy confirms the feasibility of manufacturing CDs in clean and biocompatible environments, paving the way for an easier and faster production route, crucial for their wider applicability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Lasers in Polymer Science)
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14 pages, 4736 KiB  
Article
Preparation of Polytetrafluoroethylene Superhydrophobic Materials by Femtosecond Laser Processing Technology
by Shuangquan Zhou, Yayue Hu, Yao Huang, Hong Xu, Daming Wu, Dong Wu and Xiaolong Gao
Polymers 2024, 16(1), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16010043 - 21 Dec 2023
Viewed by 910
Abstract
In recent years, superhydrophobic surfaces have attracted significant attention due to their promising applications, especially in ice prevention, reduction in air resistance, and self-cleaning. This study utilizes femtosecond laser processing technology to prepare different surface microstructures on polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) surfaces. Through experiments, it [...] Read more.
In recent years, superhydrophobic surfaces have attracted significant attention due to their promising applications, especially in ice prevention, reduction in air resistance, and self-cleaning. This study utilizes femtosecond laser processing technology to prepare different surface microstructures on polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) surfaces. Through experiments, it investigates the relationship between the solid–liquid contact ratio and surface hydrophobicity. The shape of water droplets on different microstructure surfaces is simulated using ANSYS, and the relationship between surface microstructures and hydrophobicity is explored in the theoretical model. A superhydrophobic surface with a contact angle of up to 166° was obtained by machining grooves with different spacings in polytetrafluoroethylene sheets with femtosecond laser technology. Due to the micro- and nanostructures on the surface, the oleophobicity of the processed oleophilic PTFE surface is enhanced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Lasers in Polymer Science)
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26 pages, 4109 KiB  
Article
Modification of Polyhydroxyalkanoates Polymer Films Surface of Various Compositions by Laser Processing
by Ekaterina I. Shishatskaya, Natalia O. Zhila, Alexey E. Dudaev, Ivan V. Nemtsev, Anna V. Lukyanenko and Tatiana G. Volova
Polymers 2023, 15(3), 531; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15030531 - 19 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1953
Abstract
The results of surface modification of solvent casting films made from polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) of various compositions are presented: homopolymer poly-3-hydroxybutyrate P(3HB) and copolymers comprising various combinations of 3-hydroxybutyrate (3HB), 3-hydroxyvalerate (3HV), 4-hydroxybutyrate(4HB), and 3-hydroxyhexanoate (3HHx) monomers treated with a CO2 laser in [...] Read more.
The results of surface modification of solvent casting films made from polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) of various compositions are presented: homopolymer poly-3-hydroxybutyrate P(3HB) and copolymers comprising various combinations of 3-hydroxybutyrate (3HB), 3-hydroxyvalerate (3HV), 4-hydroxybutyrate(4HB), and 3-hydroxyhexanoate (3HHx) monomers treated with a CO2 laser in continuous and quasi-pulsed radiation modes. The effects of PHAs film surface modification, depending on the composition and ratio of monomers according to the results of the study of SEM and AFM, contact angles of wetting with water, adhesion and growth of fibroblasts have been revealed for the laser radiation regime used. Under continuous irradiation with vector lines, melted regions in the form of grooves are formed on the surface of the films, in which most of the samples have increased values of the contact angle and a decrease in roughness. The quasi-pulse mode by the raster method causes the formation of holes without pronounced melted zones, the total area of which is lower by 20% compared to the area of melted grooves. The number of viable fibroblasts NIH 3T3 on the films after the quasi-pulse mode is 1.5–2.0 times higher compared to the continuous mode, and depends to a greater extent on the laser treatment mode than on the PHAs’ composition. The use of various modes of laser modification on the surface of PHAs with different compositions makes it possible to influence the morphology and properties of polymer films in a targeted manner. The results that have been obtained contribute to solving the critical issue of functional biodegradable polymeric materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Lasers in Polymer Science)
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17 pages, 11149 KiB  
Article
Use of Green Fs Lasers to Generate a Superhydrophobic Behavior in the Surface of Wind Turbine Blades
by Joaquín Rivera-Sahún, Luis Porta-Velilla, Germán F. de la Fuente and Luis A. Angurel
Polymers 2022, 14(24), 5554; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14245554 - 19 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1460
Abstract
Ice generation on the surface of wind generator blades can affect the performance of the generator in several aspects. It can deteriorate sensor performance, reduce efficiency, and cause mechanical failures. One of the alternatives to minimize these effects is to include passive solutions [...] Read more.
Ice generation on the surface of wind generator blades can affect the performance of the generator in several aspects. It can deteriorate sensor performance, reduce efficiency, and cause mechanical failures. One of the alternatives to minimize these effects is to include passive solutions based on the modification of the blade surfaces, and in particular to generate superhydrophobic behavior. Ultra-short laser systems enable improved micromachining of polymer surfaces by reducing the heat affected zone (HAZ) and improving the quality of the final surface topography. In this study, a green fs laser is used to micromachine different patterns on the surface of materials with the same structure that can be found in turbine blades. Convenient optimization of surface topography via fs laser micromachining enables the transformation of an initially hydrophilic surface into a superhydrophobic one. Thus, an initial surface finish with a contact angle ca. 69° is transformed via laser treatment into one with contact angle values above 170°. In addition, it is observed that the performance of the surface is maintained or even improved with time. These results open the possibility of using lasers to control turbine blade surface microstructure while avoiding the use of additional chemical coatings. This can be used as a complementary passive treatment to avoid ice formation in these large structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Lasers in Polymer Science)
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13 pages, 3106 KiB  
Article
Degradation of Lignin by Infrared Free Electron Laser
by Takayasu Kawasaki, Heishun Zen, Takeshi Sakai, Yoske Sumitomo, Kyoko Nogami, Ken Hayakawa, Toyonari Yaji, Toshiaki Ohta, Takashi Nagata and Yasushi Hayakawa
Polymers 2022, 14(12), 2401; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14122401 - 14 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2001
Abstract
Lignin monomers have attracted attention as functional materials for various industrial uses. However, it is challenging to obtain these monomers by degrading polymerized lignin due to the rigid ether linkage between the aromatic rings. Here, we propose a novel approach based on molecular [...] Read more.
Lignin monomers have attracted attention as functional materials for various industrial uses. However, it is challenging to obtain these monomers by degrading polymerized lignin due to the rigid ether linkage between the aromatic rings. Here, we propose a novel approach based on molecular vibrational excitation using infrared free electron laser (IR-FEL) for the degradation of lignin. The IR-FEL is an accelerator-based pico-second pulse laser, and commercially available powdered lignin was irradiated by the IR-FEL under atmospheric conditions. Synchrotron-radiation infrared microspectroscopy analysis showed that the absorption intensities at 1050 cm−1, 1140 cm−1, and 3400 cm−1 were largely decreased alongside decolorization. Electrospray ionization mass chromatography analysis showed that coumaryl alcohol was more abundant and a mass peak corresponding to hydrated coniferyl alcohol was detected after irradiation at 2.9 μm (νO-H) compared to the original lignin. Interestingly, a mass peak corresponding to vanillic acid appeared after irradiation at 7.1 μm (νC=C and νC-C), which was supported by our two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy analysis. Therefore, it seems that partial depolymerization of lignin can be induced by IR-FEL irradiation in a wavelength-dependent manner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Lasers in Polymer Science)
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