European Consortium to lead TresClean ground-breaking research project.
Updated: Aug 15, 2018
The TresClean project’s innovative concept could demonstrate that, a tailored surface created by lasers, replicating the types of organic structures found in nature, would produce beyond state of the art hygienic anti-adhesive surfaces. To develop the technology, TresClean has been granted 3.3 M€ from the European Union’s H2020 ICT 2015 Research and Innovation Action Framework Programme under Grant Agreement no 687613 as part of the initiative of the Photonics Public Private Partnership (PPP).
TresClean, which stands for High ThRoughput lasEr texturing of Self-CLEANing and antibacterial surfaces, started on 1st April 2016 and will be running until 30th September 2019. The project consortium includes Università degli Studi di Parma (UNIPR - Italy) from which Dr. Luca Romoli will act as the Project Coordinator, Universitaet Stuttgart (USTUTT - Germany), Centre Technologique ALPhANOV (ALPhANOV - France), Raylase AG (RAYLASE - Germany), Ecor Research SPA (ECOR - Italy), BSH Electodomesticos Espana SA (BSH - Spain) and Kite Innovation (Europe) Ltd (KITE - UK).
One of the organic structures studied in this project is the lotus leaf, which natural texture prevents the adhesion of fluids on its surface. The micro structures of the leaf covered by 3D epiticular wax nano-features, gives the water drop a very high contact angle of >150° and this prevents the layer from getting wet. TresClean will aim to replicate this phenomenon in production on metal components, and apply it to produce machine parts for food industry with a high self “cleanability” property (e.g. components in contact with biological fluids) and home appliances (e.g. dishwashers). The surface structuring in this case will be created with high power ultra-fast lasers, e.g. Thin Disk Multi Pass Amplifier from the IFSW (USTUTT) with more than 1kW average power and a pulse duration below 10 ps, synchronised with fast scanning devices.
TresClean’s strategy is to work with early adopter customers within the consortium, in this case ECOR and BSH, to demonstrate the industrial relevance of the laser technology. The key will be the development of photonic components based on specific and new branches of application, regarding sanification and cleanliness of components in contact with organic fluids. With the upscaling capability of TresClean, a significant cost reduction will unleash a number of innovations which will benefit industrials as much as the general public.