Laser tests under deep-sea conditions at the LZH
06/19/2018

With the special pressure chamber at the LZH, laser material processing can be tested under deep-sea conditions. (Photo: LZH)

The pressure chamber of the LZH has a viewing window through which laser radiation can be introduced. (Photo: LZH)

Does laser radiation react differently with the target material under high pressure? How do the extreme conditions of the deep sea affect machining processes? The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) can investigate these and other questions with a specially developed pressure chamber and simulate deep-sea conditions.  

With the pressure chamber of the LZH, a water depth of 6,500 meters can be simulated with a pressure of up to 650 bar. The chamber is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater and can thus represent various application scenarios. The pressure chamber includes a special device in which the sample can be placed safely.

Watching the live process
In the pressure chamber two different viewing windows (25 mm and 80 mm) can be used. These allow to introduce laser radiation and to observe the process with a camera. Thus, the scientists can, for example, analyze the plasma formation on the surface of the sample. This is interesting for the preparation of deep-sea work and measurements, as in the current ROBUST project at the LZH that focuses on the investigation of mineral resources on the seabed.

Pressurization of materials
Furthermore, the chamber can be used to examine different materials for their reaction to high pressures under water. Using high-speed camera technology, the LZH can record full HD video material at over 12,000 images per second and synchronize it with the pressure curve in the chamber.

The project "Robotic Subsea Exploration Technologies - ROBUST" (grant number: 690416) is funded by the European Union within the framework of the program "Horizon 2020".

More information about ROBUST: https://www.lzh.de/en/publications/pressreleases/2016/locating-natural-resources-in-the-deep-sea

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Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH)

As an independent, non-profit research institute, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) stands for innovative research, development and consulting. The LZH is supported by the Lower Saxony Ministry for Economics, Labour and Transport and is dedicated to the selfless promotion of applied research in the field of photonics and laser technology. Founded in 1986, over 170 employees are now working for the LZH.

The focus of the LZH lies on the fields of optical components and systems, optical production technologies, and biomedical photonics. Interdisciplinary cooperation between natural scientists and mechanical engineers makes innovative approaches to challenges from the most different areas possible: from the development of components for specific laser systems to process developments for the most diverse laser applications, for example for medical technology or lightweight construction in the automotive sector. Seventeen spin off companies have emerged from the LZH up to now. Thus, the LZH has created a strong transfer between fundamental science, application oriented research, and industry.