Case 13021

Millimeter-wave drilling beam system for faster and deeper ground penetrations


Boreholes, deep drilling, gyrotron, drilling technology, millimeter wave drilling system, earth penetrator system, thermal front, rate of penetration, transmission attenuation, geothermal energy, metallic waveguide, rotary drilling


Drilling boreholes into the earth’s subsurface to access new sources of gas, oil and geothermal energy


    Need for better and more cost efficient drilling technology, especially for deep drilling beyond 25,000 ft


We present a millimeter wave beam drilling system that could achieve much faster and deeper performance than conventional rotary drill-bit technology. This system uses an intense beam of millimeter wave electromagnetic energy in combination with pressure to thermally open a path through solid strata. The millimeter wave power is provided by gyrotron technology, a high power source of millimeter wave radiation in the frequency range of approximately 30-300 GHz. The borehole acts as a guide to propagate the high power beam to greater depths as it is created. In addition, millimeter wave diagnostics at frequencies offset from the high power beam can be superimposed on the drilling beam to monitor temperature, rate of penetration, and quality of the borehole in real time, providing information for control of the drilling process.

  • Faster and deeper drilling compared to conventional rotary deep drilling technologies
  • Real-time control of drilling process

  • Daniel Cohn(Plasma Science and Fusion Center, MIT)
  • Paul Woskov (Plasma Science and Fusion Center, MIT)

Intellectual Property:

US Patent Number 8,393,410, issued on March 12, 2013

PCT Patent Application Number US08/087191, filed December 17, 2008



Last revised: April 29, 2013

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