Combining laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) with artificial intelligence (AI), Lumine™ is an emerging new sensing platform developed as part of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) High-efficiency Mining program.
First, smart mineralogy – the NRC has developed mineralogical detection and quantification algorithms that process large volumes of LIBS raw data. Powered by AI, the algorithms enable mine operators to progress from models and instrument data to concrete insights that can guide decisions about rock sorting and processing.
Second to address the fact that laser beams have trouble focussing on moving rocks of different sizes, the NRC’s instrumentation experts developed high-performance autofocussing optics for LIBS. This very fast autofocus allows the focal length of the LIBS spot to automatically adjust its position so that each LIBS measurement can be used.
Third, optical surface measurement techniques are very sensitive to surface contaminants like humidity and dust. This only gets worse in a harsh environment where airborne dust abounds. To overcome this challenge, the NRC’s aerodynamics and mechanical experts designed an advanced air nozzle that cleans the rock surface of deposited dust particles and ensures a clean optical laser path, eliminating surface and airborne dust effects.
Canadian mining companies and sensor developers can harness the benefits of smart sensing at the NRC’s mining sensors hub in Boucherville, Quebec – a national, accessible facility for sensor development and testing. “Ultimately, identifying the right rocks to crush and the most promising areas for extraction not only increases efficiency for mine operators. Lumine™ can also be a powerful tool for reducing the environmental footprint of the mining sector.”