• Potomac Photonics
  • July 28, 2022

From NASA Perseverance Laser Marking on Mars  

From NASA Perseverance Laser Marking on Mars  

To Potomac Laser Marking on Earth

Product marking and coding is one of the most successful applications of laser technology. Light engraves a wide variety of substrates quickly and economically and some wavelengths, like those in the ultraviolet, allow for very small micro-marks. Etching a mark right into the surface of a product is a strong deterrent to counterfeiting since it cannot easily be removed as with ink marks. For the diamond industry, lasers are also used for identification to ensure stone authenticity, and many industrial applications exist creating fiduciary marks for assembly in products such as flat panel displays.

Now, laser marking is going to Mars!  

Over the years there have been some space geek jokes about leaving graffiti on the moon or other planets, but now there is a real reason to mark and code rocks from Mars.

A particular team led by MIT in Cambridge, MA is studying Mars rocks returned to Earth after being collected by space traveling robot Perseverance. The scientists are especially interested in paleomagnetism, the study of the magnetism induced by the magnetic field at the time of the rock’s formation. For this research it is critical to know the orientation of the core sample when it was removed from a Mars rock. MIT Professor Ben Weiss had an idea for identifying each sample and contacted NASA to see if the laser onboard Perseverance could be used for marking the rock cores.

Tests by Los Alamos National Lab proved the concept was viable and now the NASA SuperCAM team is ready to deploy the laser marking robot into the wilds of the Red Planet.

Laser Marking Here on Earth

Back on Earth, Potomac has a wide range of technologies that can add clean, crisp codes and marks onto products in a wide range of materials. Possible substrates include metals such as stainless steel, gold, and silver, as well as organic polymers, plastics, ceramics, and diamonds or other gemstones.

Our unique capability to laser engrave thin glass substrates for applications like microfluidic devices with no cracking or thermal damage is especially noteworthy. Not only are our processes fast and efficient with automated quality control, we reduce the waste found in the trial and error of inexperienced in-house operations.

Potomac’s expertise working on tiny spatial scales as small as one micron, also gives us the ability to micro-mark medical devices or micro-electronics. This is an elegant solution for eliminating labels that are prone to being detached from the product.

While most of our work is here on our home planet, we’ve let NASA know we’re standing by if needed!

Learn more about our precision advanced manufacturing capabilities at potomac-laser.com. We innovate processes that rocket new products from Prototype to Production at warp speed.




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