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Laser Gold: The Preferred Finish for the Oscars and NASA Spacecraft

Press Release From: Epner Technology
Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2016

 When top organizations are thinking about how gold can help enhance a project, they are turning to Laser Gold© to solve thermal control problems and enhance performance. Whether it be NASA's desire for 99% infrared reflectivity or the Oscars® need to make the finish on these historic statuettes more rugged, they are all turning to Epner Technology's Laser Gold electro-plating process.

NASA was the first to appreciate the innovation Epner Technology brought to gold plating.
The space agency required and ultra-pure 24 karat gold to achieve the highest infrared reflectivity. At the same time the coating had to be rugged enough to permit physical cleaning. The scientists at Epner Technology modified an electrochemical process in such a way that the gold atoms in the deposit were packed more tightly than ordinary plating.

And thus Laser Gold was born; the reflectivity of a pure gold combined with the durability of a coating three times harder than any other 24 karat gold.

For some 35 years every GOES weather satellite, the Hubble telescope camera housing and countless other spacecraft instruments rely on Laser Gold's 99% infrared reflective capability to keep the sun's radiant energy from affecting the performance of these critical space projects.

The James Webb Space Telescope engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have focused on Laser Gold's peerless infrared reflectivity. The Mid Infrared Instrument (MIRI) carried aloft on the JWST, has a 16 foot-long cryogenic tube that carries a Helium refrigerant at 6º Kelvin.

The complete cryogenic system is known as the Refrigerant Line Deployment Assembly (RLDA) and when coiled into its final configuration, it resembled a giant gold "Slinky". The polished Laser Gold finish on the exterior of the stainless coil will efficiently reflect some 99% of the sun's intense IR heat energy, thus permitting the camera detector to also achieve and maintain these cryogenic temperatures during the lifetime of this remarkable telescope; indeed a worthy successor to the aging Hubble.

The James Webb near IR camera (NIRCam) also utilized Laser Gold on more than 20 Titanium components. "Epner's extraordinary gold plating on the filter-wheel housing helped us meet reflectivity, robust bonding and the high-temperature bake specification on this critical Titanium hog-out," said Steven Somerstein, retired Program Manager, Lockheed-Martin Space Systems. "In addition, Epner coated the NIRCam black-body Lambertian optical integrating cavities with Laser Gold; used for flat field broadband calibration of the NIRCam infrared focal plane cameras," Somerstein said.

For 2016's Oscars, The Academy decided to return this iconic figure to its art-object roots so for the first time in 30 years the famous statuette was cast in the original bronze at the Polich Tallix art foundry in Rock Tavern, NY and shipped to Epner's Brooklyn facility to be finished in 24 karat Laser Gold. The durability of this 200 Knoop hardness process will end the steady stream of Oscars already out there that have been returned to the Academy for re-plating due to the original finish being worn away. Epner guaranteed these Oscars for a lifetime!

For years Epner Technology had gold plated many works of some of the world's greatest sculptors such as Mathew Barney and Jeff Koons. The work of many of these artists were cast at this renowned art foundry and The Academy realized that this team of two unique fabricators should be kept intact.

Artists, innovators, engineers and our country's space programs all have discovered that Laser Gold is indeed, no ordinary gold.

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