Techniques are provided for formatting laser pulse spatial shape and for effectively and efficiently delivering the laser energy to a work surface in the laser shock process. An appropriately formatted pulse helps to eliminate breakdown and generate uniform shocks. The invention uses a high power laser technology capable of meeting the laser requirements for a high throughput process, that is, a laser which can treat many square centimeters of surface area per second. The shock process has a broad range of applications, especially in the aerospace industry, where treating parts to reduce or eliminate corrosion failure is very important. The invention may be used for treating metal components to improve strength and corrosion resistance. The invention has a broad range of applications for parts that are currently shot peened and/or require peening by means other than shot peening. Major applications for the invention are in the automotive and aerospace industries for components such as turbine blades, compressor components, gears, etc.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.