NASA Kepler Mission: Update

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The NASA Kepler mission is currently in its second phase of operation since the recovery of the craft and launch of K2. A couple of years ago Kepler lost some important technology and had to return to Earth, but now with K2 being launched, the campaigns can continue.
The mission still retains its original goal of discovering earth-like planets and determining if any are habitable.
Lenox Laser was responsible for fabricating what the scientists over at NASA call the Starfield Plate. This plate consists of stainless steel laser drilled with an array of holes as small as 3 microns in diameter with the purpose of performing photometry.

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The Archimedes Palimpsest and Lenox Laser

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Lenox Laser, as mentioned in the previous post, is involved and relevant to current events such as the recent Nobel Prize in Physics and the James Webb Telescope.

Archimedes Palimpsest
Photo from the Walter’s Flickr site, part of the Lost and Found exhibit about the Archimedes Palimpsest

Another example is the Archimedes Palimpsest at Baltimore’s Walters Art Museum. It is on a special exhibit right now until January 2012, and, believes it or not, Lenox Laser was involved with this as well! Lenox Laser was involved in the key science that allowed them to see past the monk’s writings and read Archimedes’ instead. SLAC was the organization that was heading up the research to better read the obscured text, and they contacted Lenox Laser for the special tungsten part.

From our earlier blog post about the Archimedes Palimpsest from 2006- it explains Lenox Laser’s key role.

The Archimedes Palimpsest writings lingered unseen for centuries, seemingly purged from the documents forever, until Professor Heiburg began to review small scrawls beneath the visible text. At SLAC, a revolutionary modern analysis of the writing medium has been made – revealing they do contain historically important information left behind by Archimedes, Hidden from the naked eye.When confronted with an engineering challenge involving their Synchrotron X-Ray source, SLAC issued a request to Lenox Laser to produce microscopic laser-drilled holes in thin Tungsten film. These small apertures would prove critical to the team’s success in uncovering the Palimpsest’s “hidden treasure”.

Here is the website about the ancient text: www.archimedespalimpsest.org
and the Walters Art Museum: thewalters.org

Precision Laser Drilling for Custom Optical and Flow Calibrated Applications

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The Lenox Laser Corporation is a high technology research and development company specializing in the application of small hole technologies. The company has pioneered the precision micro drilling of small holes (as small as 1 micron or smaller) into a variety of materials including advanced metals, glass and plastics largely used in filtering light, gas, liquids and particles. Developments in precision calibrated products have limited competition. The company’s research programs investigate current and future uses of the technology by engineering and experimenting with different industrial applications. Special performance requirements are achieved by inventing, applying or combining new processes. Many unique products result from this research.

Products manufactured by Lenox Laser are used extensively by industrial manufacturers. The company is often challenged to do what no one else can. The company in cooperation with corporate, academic and institutional research facilities has developed an information exchange that keeps it on the cutting edge of technological innovations. Technical advancements enhance the services offered at Lenox Laser and remain the cornerstone of product creations.

Lenox Laser manufactures optical component products, such as, apertures, slits, spatial filters, arrays and pinhole mirrors. One of the hottest selling items provided by Daystar Laser, the online distributor of Lenox Laser standard products, is a prefabricated “Aperture Kit” designed for convenience and eliminates time delays when custom orders are not required. The quality of Lenox Laser optical components has resulted in the company capturing a dominant market share in the United States and abroad.

Lenox Laser also delivers precision calibrated orifices to the semiconductor industry as a component for flow control. The advances in precison laser drilling pioneered at Lenox Laser have revolutionized industrial standards. Many of the applications that previously relied upon valve flow control devices are using Lenox Laser’s precision calibrated orifices. One significant advantage of replacing these devices with precision calibrated orifices is the ability to consistently control the accuracy of flow measurements. A second significant advantage is their time saving reproducibility. Highly skilled technicians use state-of-the-art equipment for the mass production of very high quality components. Precision calibrated flow control products are the new standard. Ongoing research with major industrial companies and well recognized technical colleges and universities has provided Lenox Laser with special projects of great potential to the semiconductor industry.

Lenox Laser Pioneering New High-Powered Laser Technologies

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“The high power laser parameters relevant to selecting an aperture suitable for use in the optical beam delivery system are aperture substrate material, laser power or energy, area and time.”



– Gilbert R. Smith, P. F.

 

The development of high power lasers includes but is not limited to the following methods: Q-switching, cavity-dumping, and mode locking. In these cases, lasers operate in a pulsed regime when the single pulse or package of pulses is generated at a certain timing rate.



 

 

High energy and high power apertures are intended to be used in the optical transfer assembly using a large laser as a source. The parameters such as laser power and pulse energy, pulse duration and repetition rate become important.

Visit the Lenox Laser website for a more comprehensive view of the advances made by the Leader in Small Hole Technology.

Small Hole Applications

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The small hole, orifice or aperture is the key element of any device or instrument designed to control or measure the flow rate of a gas or liquid. In the recent past, the gasoline piston engine went through a transition that improved performance and reliability. Precision made small holes brought to life the fuel-injection process, an important technology that has superseded the carburetor. For general applications, precision, fixed control of gas flow rate is made possible through placement of a small hole in the flow passage. Under fixed positive pressure conditions, the small hole becomes the flow rate calibration device. In the area of high vacuum helium leak detector calibration devices, the small holes provides the calibrated leak rate.

Semiconductor Integrated circuits and other semiconductor devices are the foundation of today’s electronics industry. The development and production of semiconductor devices and manufacturing equipment bases heavily on ion or molecular beam processing technology. Ion beam drilling devices require the use of small, precise holes for beam forming.

Optical from early days, optics used small holes to illustrate the wave property of light. An annular diffraction pattern of interference fringes may be observed from the passage of light through a small hole. Small holes provide important functions in optical transfer assemblies. They provide the means for beam alignment, spatial filtering, aperture limiting, image analysis, and image processing.

Electron Beam, a mask containing an array of small holes, is used to control the electron beam emission in the color television picture tube. The electron microscope uses apertures as small as 2 microns in diameter to maximize control of electron beam emissions and profiling.

Archimedes Ancient Writings Revealed

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Lenox Laser helped developed precision drilled apertures for SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center) to read Archimedes ancient writings. Utilizing x-ray technology they were able to detect trace amounts of iron used in the original ink. Lenox Laser’s apertures allowed them to do this without the x-rays damaging the pages.

Intensive efforts are underway to uncover centuries-old hidden writings of Greek mathematician Archimedes. Researches at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) are utilizing advanced X-ray technology to uncover writings of Archimedes once completely unknown.

Discovered in 1906 by then-Professor J.L. Heiberg of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, the hidden text appeared within historical monastic prayer documents. The ancient practice of washing text away to make way for new writings is referred to as “Palimpsesting”.

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The Archimedes Palimpsest writings lingered unseen for centuries, seemingly purged from the documents forever, until Professor Heiburg began to review small scrawls beneath the visible text. At SLAC, a revolutionary modern analysis of the writing medium has been made – revealing they do contain historically important information left behind by Archimedes, Hidden from the naked eye.
When confronted with an engineering challenge involving their Synchrotron X-Ray source, SLAC issued a request to Lenox Laser to produce microscopic laser-drilled holes in thin Tungsten film. These small apertures would prove critical to the team’s success in uncovering the Palimpsest’s “hidden treasure”.

Using a new X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) technique, the team at SLAC, along with other collaborator, revealed writings involving mathematics and science once hidden for more than 1000 years. Conservation scientists are referencing this experiment to encourage similar new endeavors. Could many more documents in historical collections today hold hidden texts currently unknown? Time and Technology will tell.

The SLAC experiment has proven successful, and the story was featured on several prominent news and documentary programs. The Archimedes Palimpsest rests at the Walter’s Art Gallery in Baltimore, MD – continuously monitored by preservation professionals, and studied regularly by scholars from around the world.

View the ongoing project at archimedespalimpsest.org

exploratorium.com

View SLACs Work

 

NASA Kepler Mission

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This special purpose space mission that has been proposed to NASA Headquarter’s Discovery Program as a practical method for detecting Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets, that is, rocky and Earth-size. Lenox Laser fabricated a custom Starfield Plate for the Kepler Mission.

Quote from NASA’s Kepler Mission Web Site

“The star plate has a large number of holes of various sizes (used to perform time-variant relative photometry) and they are placed in many locations across the field-of-view to support the suite of tests described earlier. The plate is made of 50-micron thick stainless steel and opaque (transparency of less than one part in a million). The hole pattern was drilled with a laser beam by Lenox Laser, with some holes as small as 3 microns diameter (for the mv=19 stars).

There are 84 holes for the 9<14 target stars in the uncrowded region of the plate. These are used to isolate the effects of faint background stars, bright stars, smearing, etc. Some of these have very nearby stars as faint as mv=19 to demonstrate that stars five magnitudes fainter than the target star are not a problem even when spacecraft jitter is simulated. Bias-Smear Graphic of 84 Star plate Array There is a crowded portion of the plate with 1540 stars having the same star field density to mv=19 as the actual Cygnus region to be viewed by the Kepler Mission. This region was used to demonstrate the ability to perform the high-precision relative photometry even in crowded fields."

Dr. David Koch – Deputy Principal Investigator, Kepler Mission
Kepler Website – NASA