The invention is a method and apparatus for marking components by inducing a shock wave on the surface that results in an indented (strained) layer and a residual compressive stress in the surface layer. One embodiment of the laser peenmarking system rapidly imprints, with single laser pulses, a complete identification code or three-dimensional pattern and leaves the surface in a state of deep residual compressive stress. A state of compressive stress in parts made of metal or other materials is highly desirable to make them resistant to fatigue failure and stress corrosion cracking. This process employs a laser peening system and beam spatial modulation hardware or imaging technology that can be setup to impress full three dimensional patterns into metal surfaces at the pulse rate of the laser, a rate that is at least an order of magnitude faster than competing marking technologies.
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.