CSIR Photonics Centre

The CSIR houses a critical core of photonics expertise and scientific infrastructure for R&D and innovation in photonics-based technologies and applications at its Photonics Centre.

The aim of the Photonics Centre is to equip South African industries with laser and photonics tools and processes to transition, transform and maintain their global competitiveness. A wide range of sectors are targeted, from manufacturing to health, defence to mining and power generation.

The main offerings, tools and processes include:

Additive manufacturing

  • Custom selective laser sintering machines
  • Large parts size up to 600 x 600 x 2000 mm
  • Fast printing speeds
  • High quality printed parts
  • Multiple materials (titanium, aluminium, steel and a range of new alloys and polymers not available elsewhere)

Laser surface engineering

  • Laser cladding and onsite repair of large equipment
  • Laser shock peening to enhance durability of high wear surfaces

Laser welding and cutting (2D and 3D)

  • Fast, large-area laser marking machines
  • Biophotonics diagnostic tools to detect HIV, tuberculosis, Covid-19 and substandard medication
  • High-power lasers in all wavelengths across the infrared spectrum from 1µm to 10µm for a suite of applications
  • Custom high-power laser and remote sensing solutions

The centre also focuses on supporting R&D at universities and other research institutions, as well as training and developing the next generation of scientists, engineers and technicians in fields where photonics-based technologies are key.

The centre hosts the Photonics Prototyping Facility, which supports the industrialisation and commercialisation of photonics-based technologies. Entrepreneurs or existing industry can mature their technologies to a higher technology readiness level through the development of prototypes at the facility to enter the market. 

Dr Hencharl Strauss