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Electrostatic Levitator picture gallery

March 9, 1998: The following pictures are provided for print media needing high-resolution images of the Electrostatic Levitator. Technical specifications are listed below. Please credit the illustrations as noted. For additional information, contact Dr. Jan Rogers at 205-544-1081.

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Jan Rogers

ESL team
Rogers, Robinson

ESL vacuum chamber
Dr. Jan Rogers operates the ESL. 1179x781, 336K JPG. (NASA)Larry Savage, Dr. Jan Rogers, Dr. Michael Robinson (all NASA) and Doug Huie (Mevatec) inspect the ESL. 1169x791, 360K JPG. (NASA)Dr. Jan Rogers and Dr. Michael Robinson at the ESL controls. 1303x775 pixel, 334K JPG. NASA.Closeup view of ESL vacuum chamber. 1207x1035, 472K JPG. (NASA)

ESL at Loral

ESL layout

ESL captions

ESL interior
ESL in operation at Loral before transfer to NASA. 540-x622, 240K JPG. (Loral)ESL general layout at Loral. 693x528, 264K JPG. (Loral)ESL general layout with captions. 693x491, 264K JPG. (Loral)ESL vacuum chamber with top raised to show interior. 691x544, 232K JPG. (Loral)

ESL electrodes

 Levitated sample

Electrode schematic

Undercooling graph
Electrostatic levitation system inside ESL vacuum chamber. 518x537, 104K JPG (Loral)Metal droplet levitated inside ESL. 690x539, 272K JPG. (Loral)Schematic of ESL electrodes and controls. 728x353, 88K JPG. Illustrator original available. (NASA)Graph depicting ESL heating and cooling cycle to achieve undercooling of liquid metals. 724x757, 136K JPG. (NASA). Illustrator original available.

ESL schematic
General layout of ESL. The heating laser is now mounted under the table, but is shown rotated 90 deg. for clarity. 713x1393, 176K JPG. (NASA) Illustrator original available.

Electrostatic Levitator technical specifications


Backing pumpDiaphraghm
Operating pressure10 E-8 torr
Pumping speed250 l/s (nitrogen)
Flange desgnConflat
MeasurementIon guage with reader


TypeSingle color
Wavelength0.656 or 1.3 µm
DetectorCooled/stabilized Si or InGaAs
Amplifier gain10E5 to 10E9 V/A


TypeElectrostatic w/3D digital PD feedback control
Specimen size1-3 mm
CompositionConductor, semi-conductor, or insulator


MethodFocused, steerable laser
Laser typeCW: Nd:YAG at 1.064 µm
Beam power50W max., 1-100%
Spot size0.5-1.0 mm

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Author: Dave Dooling
Curator: Bryan Walls
NASA Official: John M. Horack