MRO Magazine

ULS Multiwave Hybrid Technology Enables Futuristic Graphene Research at Rice University

By Business Wire News   


Universal Laser Systems (ULS), the world’s leader in laser materials processing and Rice University’s Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology in Houston, Texas, are actively collaborating on advanced research on Laser Induced Graphene (LIG) synthesis and refinement. As part of that collaboration, Rice is using a state-of-the-art XLS10 Multiwave HybridTM laser system developed by ULS.

The Multiwave HybridTM technology can combine multiple laser beams with different wavelengths into a single coaxial beam. This unique capability enables the research group to combine multiple laser wavelengths and energies, and study the effects on the structure and properties of the resulting graphene.

The Rice University research group, led by Professor James M. Tour, initially discovered LIG in 2014. The LIG process is conducted under ambient conditions, meaning no high-temperature furnaces or vacuum chambers are necessary, dramatically reducing the cost of graphene production. The process involves exposing a sheet of commercial polyimide film to a laser beam. The laser’s energy converts the top 20 microns of the polyimide to a porous graphene structure. Graphene produced by the LIG technique has broad application in fields such as energy storage and catalysis.

In the near future, this process can be used to produce portable, flexible electronics and “wearable” electronics that can configure to a smartphone. Additionally, the production of laser-induced graphene is a one-step process that could allow for rapid manufacture of roll-to-roll flexible electronics in the future. Joe Hillman, Materials Science Engineer and Strategic Development Manager for Universal Laser Systems states that “the unique ability of the XLS10MWH to combine the beams from several different lasers provides an ideal system for studying and optimizing the interaction of light with matter.”

When asked about the collaboration between Universal Laser and Rice University, Dr. Tour said, “The ability to explore multiple wavelengths and reaction environments is expected to lead to great advancements in the field.”

About Universal Laser Systems

Universal Laser Systems, an engineering and manufacturing company, founded in 1988 and headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, with operational offices in Vienna, Austria, and Yokohama, Japan.Universal Laser Systems is a leading global provider of CO2 and fiber laser systems and recognized experts in laser-material interactions and advanced material processing. The laser systems are widely used for research programs in universities around the world and by small business to Fortune 500 companies. For more information visit our website at

About Mr. Joseph Hillman

Mr. Hillman has a degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has over 20 years of experience in advanced fabrication development processes, with the past five years dedicated to laser processing techniques. He has published more than 100 technical papers and holds over 50 patents, and joined Universal Laser Systems in 2009.

About James Tour

James Tour is the T.T. and W.F. Chao Professor of Chemistry and a professor of computer science and materials science and nanoengineering at Rice University. In 2009, the UK-based Times Higher Education found Tour was among the ten most-cited chemists of the previous decade. His research encompasses nanoscale electronics, environmentally friendly oil and gas extraction, battery technology, water purification, medical applications, composite materials, hydrogen storage and the synthesis of single-molecule nanomachines, including molecular motors and nano cars. He holds 75 U.S. patents and has published more than 550 research papers.

About Rice University

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,888 undergraduates and 2,610 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked among the top schools for best quality of life by the Princeton Review and best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to

Universal Laser Systems, Inc.
Diane Neff, 480-483-1214 x 225
Marketing Communication Specialist


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