Posts tagged lasers

US Army’s laser-truck shoots down 90 mortars and drones.
The 10kw Boeing-built laser has destroyed 90 airborne mortar and drone targets during three weeks of testing in New Mexico. While the targets aren’t completely blown apart by the laser, the Army’s project manager says “[The target] basically falls where it was going to fall, but it doesn’t explode when it hits the ground. We turn it into a rock, basically.”
The system will eventually be scaled up to 50kw and even 100kw lasers in the coming years.

In some situations, lasers would be a huge improvement on current defense strategies which use expensive missiles to shoot down incoming ordnance.
Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, for example, launches $40,000 missiles to take out $1,000 rockets. The Army laser, meanwhile, costs about a “cup of diesel fuel” per shot and, traveling at the speed of light, hits its target almost instantaneously.

US Army’s laser-truck shoots down 90 mortars and drones.

The 10kw Boeing-built laser has destroyed 90 airborne mortar and drone targets during three weeks of testing in New Mexico. While the targets aren’t completely blown apart by the laser, the Army’s project manager says “[The target] basically falls where it was going to fall, but it doesn’t explode when it hits the ground. We turn it into a rock, basically.”

The system will eventually be scaled up to 50kw and even 100kw lasers in the coming years.

In some situations, lasers would be a huge improvement on current defense strategies which use expensive missiles to shoot down incoming ordnance.

Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, for example, launches $40,000 missiles to take out $1,000 rockets. The Army laser, meanwhile, costs about a “cup of diesel fuel” per shot and, traveling at the speed of light, hits its target almost instantaneously.

Record breaking 500 trillion watt laser beam demonstrated.

Researchers at the National Ignition Facility have successfully completed a test firing of their high powered laser, delivering more than five hundred terawatts of power to a target in the chamber, and 1.85 megajoules (MJ) of ultraviolet laser light. Delivered by 192 beams, the test passes another challange on the way to igniting hydrogen fusion fuel in the laboratory and producing more energy than that supplied to the target.

500 terawatts is 1,000 times more power than the United States uses at any moment in time.

1.85MJ is about 100 times larger than any other laser in the world today.

Record breaking 500 trillion watt laser beam demonstrated.

Researchers at the National Ignition Facility have successfully completed a test firing of their high powered laser, delivering more than five hundred terawatts of power to a target in the chamber, and 1.85 megajoules (MJ) of ultraviolet laser light. Delivered by 192 beams, the test passes another challange on the way to igniting hydrogen fusion fuel in the laboratory and producing more energy than that supplied to the target.

  • 500 terawatts is 1,000 times more power than the United States uses at any moment in time.
  • 1.85MJ is about 100 times larger than any other laser in the world today.
Wireless power system keeps UAV airborne for 48 hours.
Lockheed Martin have demonstrated a wireless power system that uses lasers to beam energy to an unmanned aerial vehicle. The ground-to-air recharging system was demonstrated for 48 hours before being shut off - but only as all the required tests had been completed, and could likely have stayed airborne for much longer. At the conclusion of the test the battery on the ‘Stalker Unmanned Aerial System’ had more energy stored than it did at the beginning.
The laser power system was developed by LaserMotive, who won NASA’s Power Beaming Challenge in 2009, winning the US$900,000 prize.
While this test was conducted in a controlled indoor environment using a wind tunnel, the next step will be to demonstrate it outdoors to prove it is ready for commercial and military applications.

Wireless power system keeps UAV airborne for 48 hours.

Lockheed Martin have demonstrated a wireless power system that uses lasers to beam energy to an unmanned aerial vehicle. The ground-to-air recharging system was demonstrated for 48 hours before being shut off - but only as all the required tests had been completed, and could likely have stayed airborne for much longer. At the conclusion of the test the battery on the ‘Stalker Unmanned Aerial System’ had more energy stored than it did at the beginning.

The laser power system was developed by LaserMotive, who won NASA’s Power Beaming Challenge in 2009, winning the US$900,000 prize.

While this test was conducted in a controlled indoor environment using a wind tunnel, the next step will be to demonstrate it outdoors to prove it is ready for commercial and military applications.

Navy announces timeline for ship-based lasers.
After successfully demonstrating a ship-based laser system last year, the Navy has announced it is almost ready to begin signing up contractors to build and install the system on their ships. (Cool video of the demonstration here)
The Office of Naval Research expects to have a working cannon ready to be installed on a ship within four years. The laser will target “Subsonic cruise missiles, aircraft, fast-moving boats, unmanned aerial vehicles”.

Navy announces timeline for ship-based lasers.

After successfully demonstrating a ship-based laser system last year, the Navy has announced it is almost ready to begin signing up contractors to build and install the system on their ships. (Cool video of the demonstration here)

The Office of Naval Research expects to have a working cannon ready to be installed on a ship within four years. The laser will target “Subsonic cruise missiles, aircraft, fast-moving boats, unmanned aerial vehicles”.

US researchers heat aluminium to 2,000,000 degrees.
US Department of Energy researchers have used the world’s most powerful laser to heat a tiny piece of aluminium foil to two million degrees, while probing the matter using the same laser. The experiment was the first of its kind in the world, and it all happened in less than a trillionth of a second.
The research marks a huge step towards understanding the fusion reactions found in the heart of starts, and will be used to help create future fusion reactions like in the National Ignition Facility, where scientists are working to create a fusion reaction that creates more energy than is put in, which in turn is hoped to become the major clean energy source of the future.

US researchers heat aluminium to 2,000,000 degrees.

US Department of Energy researchers have used the world’s most powerful laser to heat a tiny piece of aluminium foil to two million degrees, while probing the matter using the same laser. The experiment was the first of its kind in the world, and it all happened in less than a trillionth of a second.

The research marks a huge step towards understanding the fusion reactions found in the heart of starts, and will be used to help create future fusion reactions like in the National Ignition Facility, where scientists are working to create a fusion reaction that creates more energy than is put in, which in turn is hoped to become the major clean energy source of the future.

Video of the day: Ship-based laser takes down boat.

Researchers had mounted the 15 kilowatt laser on board the USS Paul Foster, and were able to set alight both engines of the small boat one mile away. While this technology had been demonstrated on land, this marks the first completely sea based proof of concept.

This proved difficult to find not only a way to keep the laser on target in choppy waters, but to find a laser system that could work using the ships existing power supply. The Navy hopes to start having the systems installed in the next few years.

After that the Navy hopes to develop a megawatt class laser in the 2020’s, capable of cutting through 2,000 feet of steel per second, or as one Admiral has called it, the “Megawatt Death Ray”.

Researchers in California has developed a ‘Spaser’ that can operate at room temperature.
The fact that it operates at room temperature means that the technology has passed a major hurdle, as it was not previously clear if they could be operated at anything above around -250 degrees C.
Normally lasers work by amplifying light, but spasers amplify particles called surface plasmons. Plasmons can be confined to much smaller areas than normal light lasers, before being converted into normal light waves.
This means the technology will be useful for creating miniaturized  optical circuits that might operate at 100 times faster than today’s fastest electronic circuits. It may also be possible to use spasers to create microchips with features smaller than 20nm - todays chips are around 30 - 40 nm and are approaching the limits of normal lasers. They could also squash more data onto DVD’s and hard drives.
This technology should be ready to start using in commercial applications within two years.

Researchers in California has developed a ‘Spaser’ that can operate at room temperature.

The fact that it operates at room temperature means that the technology has passed a major hurdle, as it was not previously clear if they could be operated at anything above around -250 degrees C.

Normally lasers work by amplifying light, but spasers amplify particles called surface plasmons. Plasmons can be confined to much smaller areas than normal light lasers, before being converted into normal light waves.

This means the technology will be useful for creating miniaturized  optical circuits that might operate at 100 times faster than today’s fastest electronic circuits. It may also be possible to use spasers to create microchips with features smaller than 20nm - todays chips are around 30 - 40 nm and are approaching the limits of normal lasers. They could also squash more data onto DVD’s and hard drives.

This technology should be ready to start using in commercial applications within two years.

Lasers used to fight off pirates.
BAE Systems in the UK have developed a laser system to help cargo ships at sea to defend against pirates.
From New Scientist:
"This is very much a non-lethal weapon," says Bryan Hore of BAE Systems in Farnborough, UK, where the system was developed. By taking into account the range of the target, as well as the atmospheric conditions, the system can automatically regulate the intensity of the laser beam to ensure there is no lasting eye damage, he says.
While the effects are not permanent, the light should leave pirates at least wishing they had worn an eyepatch or two: from as far away as 1500 metres the effect of looking at the beam is like accidentally looking at the sun, says Hore.

Lasers used to fight off pirates.

BAE Systems in the UK have developed a laser system to help cargo ships at sea to defend against pirates.

From New Scientist:

"This is very much a non-lethal weapon," says Bryan Hore of BAE Systems in Farnborough, UK, where the system was developed. By taking into account the range of the target, as well as the atmospheric conditions, the system can automatically regulate the intensity of the laser beam to ensure there is no lasting eye damage, he says.

While the effects are not permanent, the light should leave pirates at least wishing they had worn an eyepatch or two: from as far away as 1500 metres the effect of looking at the beam is like accidentally looking at the sun, says Hore.

Next Mars rover to have frikken laser beams built in.

NASA has announced the next Mars rover - named Curiosity - will have a new tool for analyzing soil and rocks. The Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) will be able to use a laser to excite a small point on a sample, then observe as it heats up and identify its chemical composition by analyzing the spectrum of light it gives out.

NASA hopes to use the instruments to find if life has existed on Mars, or if the conditions could at least have been suitable for life.

Curiosity will launch in late 2011, arriving on Mars in August 2012.

New laser light created, now to attach it to the sharks…
US Scientists have produced a rare color of laser that is 100 times brighter than generated before.
They hope to one day use the light to enable a method of finding the age of materials far older than possible with radio-carbon dating.
The light was produced by Jefferson Lab’s Free-Electron Laser facility. The laser delivered vacuum ultraviolet light in the form of 10 eV photons (a wavelength of 124 nanometers). This color of light is called vacuum ultraviolet because it is absorbed by molecules in the air, requiring its use in a vacuum.
Full story here at Physorg.

New laser light created, now to attach it to the sharks

US Scientists have produced a rare color of laser that is 100 times brighter than generated before.

They hope to one day use the light to enable a method of finding the age of materials far older than possible with radio-carbon dating.

The light was produced by Jefferson Lab’s Free-Electron Laser facility. The laser delivered vacuum ultraviolet light in the form of 10 eV photons (a wavelength of 124 nanometers). This color of light is called vacuum ultraviolet because it is absorbed by molecules in the air, requiring its use in a vacuum.

Full story here at Physorg.