ESI laser ablation system dates and analyzes asteroids

April 24, 2009
Electro Scientific Industries (ESI) announced that its New Wave Research (NWR) Division's UP213 laser ablation system enabled the dating of ancient asteroids at the Department of Geology at the University of Maryland.

Electro Scientific Industries (ESI; Portland, OR), a provider of photonic systems for microengineering applications, announced that its New Wave Research (NWR) Division's UP213 laser ablation system enabled the dating of ancient asteroids at the Department of Geology at the University of Maryland, helping to determine the age and elemental composition of two newly discovered ancient asteroidal fragments and yielding insight into the formation of our early solar system. ESI was recently in the news for its work with a medical application; see "ESI's micromachining system to aid in the battle against Parkinson's disease".

James Day, a research associate working at the University of Maryland, reported on the use of NWR's UP213 system to determine the age and mineralogical characterization of two asteroid fragments in an article published in Nature on January 8, 2009. He explained, "The UP213 system made it possible to determine the age of the asteroid fragments to a high level of precision, while also providing vital spatial information on the formation of minerals present in the samples at the micron scale. It is our intention to continue to leverage NWR's advanced research tools to further our understanding of Earth and solar system processes."

"The UP213 system is capable of measuring isotopic ratios of chemical elements to rapidly calculate the age of the asteroids in regions as small as four microns in diameter," said ESI's NWR marketing director, Michael Stubelt. "Building on the success of this study, we look forward to developing advanced technology to further the analytical sciences industry."

The Universal Platform (UP) series is a family of high-precision laser ablation systems designed with solid sampling for analytical science in mind. Such systems are used worldwide in applications as diverse as geosciences, forensics, biomedical, materials analysis, semiconductor analysis, archaeological investigation and gem fingerprinting (see also "LIBS determines quality and origin of precious gems"). It can also be applied to environmental sciences and climatology, a fast growing area of scientific interest in this century.

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About the Author

Gail Overton | Senior Editor (2004-2020)

Gail has more than 30 years of engineering, marketing, product management, and editorial experience in the photonics and optical communications industry. Before joining the staff at Laser Focus World in 2004, she held many product management and product marketing roles in the fiber-optics industry, most notably at Hughes (El Segundo, CA), GTE Labs (Waltham, MA), Corning (Corning, NY), Photon Kinetics (Beaverton, OR), and Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). During her marketing career, Gail published articles in WDM Solutions and Sensors magazine and traveled internationally to conduct product and sales training. Gail received her BS degree in physics, with an emphasis in optics, from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA in May 1986.

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