Latest Laser Energy Developments

Latest Laser Energy Developments

Postby jpf1030 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:59 pm

Howdy All,
Interesting developments are coming forth in the laser world per the four below articles from the physics and science website, http://www.physorg.com. Someday there will be even more widespread use of lasers for humanitarian and production efficiency in making products for the advancement of civilization purposes, rather than those of destructive intent. Two of the articles were released 5 years, so we can imagine the advancements since then as evidenced by the two articles released this year!..jpf
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http://www.physorg.com/news4949.html
World's most powerful diode pumped solid state laser
July 5, 2005 World's most powerful diode pumped solid state laser
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A revolutionary new laser under development at DOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory could drastically reduce casualties by U.S. forces.
The Solid State Heat Capacity Laser program has already successfully achieved world-record energy output.

The system will eventually allow infantry units to use a beam of invisible light to destroy incoming mortars, artillery shells and anti-tank missiles, as well as defusing buried landmines.

The Army's Space and Missile Defense Command is sponsoring the program, which uses a unique pulsed beam that fires 200 times per second, and can already easily burn a hole through an inch of carbon steel in approximately seven seconds.

Related link: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Source: DOE Pulse
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http://www.physorg.com/news198904016.html
Laser shoots down drones at sea (w/ Video)
July 21, 2010 by Lin Edwards Laser shoots down drones at sea

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The Phalanx Close-in Weapon System. (Credit: Raytheon)

(PhysOrg.com) -- An infrared laser developed by Arizona company Raytheon Missile Systems has been demonstrated shooting down incoming drones over the ocean off the coast of California.

The video of the demonstration, taken at an off-shore US Navy test range 120 km west of Los Angeles, was released on July 19th at the biennial International Air Show at Farnborough in the UK. The 32-kilowatt solid-state laser was mounted on a warship gun turret and was shown blasting a remotely piloted unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) until it caught fire, lost control, and plummeted into the sea. In all, four UAVs were shot down in the seagoing tests.

Raytheon’s vice president Mike Booen said the demonstration was a world first with ship-borne lasers shooting down threats from the air at “military significant distances.” Firing a laser at sea is much more difficult than firing from land because it is mounted on a ship, which is moving and rolling with the waves, and it is also in a humid environment heavily laden with salt air.

The US Navy and coastguard's standard defense system, the Phalanx Close-In Weapon System, currently overcomes the problem by using a high caliber, radar-guided Gatling gun that is able to counteract the ship’s movements to track and shoot down incoming objects. The Gatling has been used for over 30 years and is capable of firing up to 4,500 rounds of 20-mm ammunition per minute.

The Navy’s new system for defeating close-in air and surface missiles or drones is known as LaWS (Laser Weapon System) and is paired with Raytheon’s Phalanx. The system comprises six lasers that focus on the target simultaneously, delivering energy high enough to cause it to catch fire. Range data is provided to the laser system by Phalanx radio-frequency sensors, and Phalanx electro-optical sensors acquire the targets and track them.

Editor of Jane’s Defense Weekly, Peter Felstead, said the laser marks the beginning of a new era in missile defense technology, since lasers are becoming smaller and more effective and can be used to destroy a wide range of threats from the air, from mortars to missiles.

Raytheon said the laser system tests are continuing, but the system is unlikely to be ready for deployment until 2016.
© 2010 PhysOrg.com
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http://www.physorg.com/news7829.html
Non-Lethal Laser Weapon Halts Aggressors
November 3, 2005

A laser technology being developed by Air Force Research Laboratory employees at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., will be the first man-portable, non-lethal deterrrent weapon intended for protecting troops and controlling hostile crowds.

The weapon, developed by the laboratory's Directed Energy Directorate, employs a two-wavelength laser system and is the first of its kind as a hand-held, single-operator system for troop and perimeter defense.

The laser light used in the weapon temporarily impairs aggressors by illuminating or "dazzling" individuals, removing their ability to see the laser source.

The first two prototypes of the Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response, or PHaSR, were built at Kirtland last month and delivered to the laboratory's Human Effectiveness Directorate at Brooks City Base, Texas, and the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate at Quantico, Va. for testing.

"The future is here with PHaSR," said program manager Capt. Thomas Wegner. He is also the ScorpWorks flight commander within the Laser Division of the directorate.

ScorpWorks is a unit of military scientists and engineers that develops laser system prototypes for Air Force Research Laboratory, from beginning concept to product field testing.

The National Institute of Justice recently awarded ScorpWorks $250,000 to make an advanced prototype that will add an eye-safe laser range finder into PHaSR.

Systems such as PHaSR have historically been too powerful at close ranges and ineffective but eye-safe at long ranges. The next prototype is planned to include the addition of the eye-safe range finder and is planned for completion in March 2006.

Copyright 2005 by Space Daily, Distributed United Press International
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http://www.physorg.com/news201262222.html
New system developed to test and evaluate high-energy laser weapons
August 17, 2010 New system developed to test and evaluate high-energy laser weapons
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With Orlando-based OptiGrate, GTRI senior research scientist David Roberts designed and fabricated a target board that can survive high-energy laser irradiation without changing its properties or significantly affecting the beam. Credit: Georgia Tech Photo: Gary Meek

Technologies for using laser energy to destroy threats at a distance have been in development for many years. Today, these technologies -- known as directed energy weapons -- are maturing to the point of becoming deployable.

High-energy lasers -- one type of directed energy weapon -- can be mounted on aircraft to deliver a large amount of energy to a far-away target at the speed of light, resulting in structural and incendiary damage. These lasers can be powerful enough to destroy cruise missiles, artillery projectiles, rockets and mortar rounds.

Before these weapons can be used in the field, the lasers must be tested and evaluated at test ranges. The power and energy distribution of the high-energy laser beam must be accurately measured on a target board, with high spatial and temporal resolution.
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New system developed to test and evaluate high-energy laser weapons

Before high-energy lasers can be mounted on aircraft to deliver energy powerful enough to destroy cruise missiles and rockets, they must be tested and evaluated at test ranges. The reusable target board shown here enables the power and energy distribution of the high-energy laser beam to be accurately measured with high spatial and temporal resolution. Credit: Georgia Tech Photo: Gary Meek
Researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) have developed a system to measure a laser's power and spatial energy distribution simultaneously by directing the laser beam onto a glass target board they designed. Ultimately, the reusable target board and beam diagnostic system will help accelerate the development of such high-energy laser systems and reduce the time required to make them operational for national security purposes.

"The high-energy laser beam delivers its energy to a small spot on the target -- only a couple inches in diameter -- but the intensity is strong enough to melt steel," said GTRI senior research scientist David Roberts. "Our goal was to develop a method for determining how many watts of energy were hitting that area and how the energy distribution changed over time so that the lasers can be optimized."
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New system developed to test and evaluate high-energy laser weapons

GTRI senior research scientist David Roberts developed a system to measure a laser's power and spatial energy distribution simultaneously, which will help accelerate the development of high-energy laser systems and reduce the time required to make them operational for national security purposes. Credit: Georgia Tech Photo: Gary Meek
GTRI teamed with Leon Glebov of Orlando-based OptiGrate to design and fabricate a target board that could survive high-energy laser irradiation without changing its properties or significantly affecting the beam. The researchers selected OptiGrate's handmade photo-thermo-refractive glass -- a sodium-zinc-aluminum-silicate glass doped with silver, cerium and fluorine -- for the target board.

"This glass is unique in that it is transparent, but also photosensitive like film so you can record holograms and other optical structures in the glass, then 'develop' them in a furnace," explained Roberts.

The researchers tweaked the optical characteristics of the glass so that the board would resist degradation and laser damage. OptiGrate also had to create a new mold to produce four-inch by four-inch pieces of the glass -- a size four times larger than OptiGrate had ever made before.

During testing, the four-inch-square target board is secured between a test target and a high-energy laser, and the beam irradiance profile on the board is imaged by a remote camera. The images are then analyzed to provide a contour map showing the power density -- watts per square inch -- at every location where the beam hit the target.

"We can also simultaneously collect power measurements as a function of time with no extra equipment," noted Roberts. "Previously, measuring the total energy delivered by the laser required a ball calorimeter and temperature measurements had to be collected as the laser heated the interior of the ball. Now we can measure the total energy along with the total power and power density anywhere inside the beam more than one hundred times per second."

GTRI's prototype target boards and a high-energy laser beam profiling system that uses those boards were delivered to Kirtland Air Force Base's Laser Effects Test Facility in May. The researchers successfully demonstrated them using the facility's 50-kilowatt fiber laser and measured power densities as high as 10,000 watts per square centimeter without damaging the beam profiler.

Scaling the system up to larger target board sizes is possible, according to Roberts.

Provided by Georgia Institute of Technology
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