Laser processing of minerals common on asteroids

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Anthony , N , Frostevarg , J , Suhonen , H , Wanhainen , C , Penttila , A & Granvik , M 2021 , ' Laser processing of minerals common on asteroids ' , Optics & Laser Technology , vol. 135 , 106724 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.optlastec.2020.106724

Title: Laser processing of minerals common on asteroids
Author: Anthony, Niklas; Frostevarg, Jan; Suhonen, Heikki; Wanhainen, Christina; Penttila, Antti; Granvik, Mikael
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Physics
University of Helsinki, Department of Physics
University of Helsinki, Particle Physics and Astrophysics
Date: 2021-03
Language: eng
Number of pages: 12
Belongs to series: Optics & Laser Technology
ISSN: 0030-3992
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/324275
Abstract: Asteroid mining and redirection are two trends that both can utilize lasers, one to drill and cut, the other to ablate and move. Yet little is known about what happens when a laser is used to process the types of materials we typically expect to find on most asteroids. To shed light on laser processing of asteroid material, we used a 300-W, pulsed Ytterbium fiber laser on samples of olivine, pyroxene, and serpentine, and studied the process with a high-speed camera and illumination laser at 10 000 frames per second. We also measure the sizes of the resulting holes using X-ray micro-tomography to find the pulse parameters which remove the largest amount of material using the least amount of energy. We find that at these power densities, all three minerals will melt and chaotically throw off spatter. Short, low-power pulses can efficiently produce thin, deep holes, and long, high-power pulses are more energy efficient at removing the most amount of material.
Subject: Laser drilling
High-speed imaging
X-ray micro-tomography
Asteroid mining
114 Physical sciences
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