Improved passive thermal management of spacecraft components using nanosecond laser pulse patterning

Organized by:

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action; Central Innovation Programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (BMWK, AiF-ZIM)

Duration: Mar 2023 – Feb 2025

Together with Azimut Space GmbH, the NanoBLAST project is advancing the economic production of thermally highly emissive surface structures. Such surface structures can be achieved in excellent quality by means of femtosecond laser pulses and reproducibly formed on any metal surface. In the industrial environment, however, the cutting-edge technology of femtosecond laser systems is not always applicable. Especially for the processing of dedicated areas of space components integrated into the production process, an implementation with robust nanosecond lasers, which are well established in the industrial environment, is desirable. However, their comparatively long pulse length favors melting processes instead of well-defined patterning with femtosecond laser pulses. At Fraunhofer HHI, melting processes could be suppressed and etching processes preferred by using reactive gases as process gas atmosphere.

In the present project, reactive gas assisted nanosecond laser processing on aluminum alloys is to be scaled up to an industrial range and used for the fabrication of so-called "electronic boxes", which contain the power electronics of spacecrafts. For this purpose, a mobile process chamber is developed which can be inserted into commercial nanosecond laser systems and thus a well-scalable, modular process is developed.