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System Help Enable the Dating of Ancient Asteroids

Published on April 22, 2009 at 10:04 AM

Electro Scientific Industries, Inc. (Nasdaq:ESIO), a leading provider of world-class photonic and laser systems for microengineering applications, today announced that its New Wave Research (NWR) Division's UP213 laser ablation system helped enable the dating of ancient asteroids at the Department of Geology at the University of Maryland. In conjunction with a high-resolution mass spectrometer, the UP213 system was used to determine the age and elemental composition of two newly discovered ancient asteroidal fragments, enabling new insight into the formation of our early solar system.

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 the leading science journal, Nature, on January 8, 2009.

James 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,” noted ESI’s NWR marketing director, Michael Stubelt. “The high precision and versatility of our many systems enables our laser ablation solutions to achieve consistent growth. 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. The Universal Platform is the market leader and considered to be the gold standard in laser ablation. Such systems are used worldwide in applications as diverse as geosciences, forensics, biomedical, materials analysis, semiconductor analysis, archaeological investigation and gem fingerprinting. It can also be applied to environmental sciences and climatology, a fast growing area of scientific interest in this century.

ESI is a pioneer and leading supplier of world-class photonic and laser systems that help its microelectronics customers achieve compelling yield and productivity gains. The company’s industry-leading, application-specific products enhance electronic-device performance in three key sectors—semiconductors, components and electronic interconnect—by enabling precision fine-tuning of device microfeatures in high-volume manufacturing environments. Founded in 1944, ESI is headquartered in Portland, Ore.

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