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Critical Laser Source Requirements for Laser Target Designation

Combat zones can be extremely chaotic. With a massive influx of sensory input, implementing clear communication, rugged tools, and reliable instrumentation is key to a successful mission. One of the most challenging tasks in any aerial combat situation is determining which assets on the ground to target and which ones to avoid. Because of this challenge, a practice, commonly referred to as “painting the target,” was developed and has been successfully deployed for many years, allowing ground forces to identify and designate targets for successful engagement by aeria… Read More

Gallium Nitride (GaN) Laser Diodes: Green, Blue, and UV Wavelengths

Once thought to be impossible, blue, green and UV laser diodes have now become commonplace.  These lasers are being used in a wide range of applications from blue-ray players to commercial lighting & displays to copper welding.  In this post, we are going to take a look at the underlying material properties of semiconductors, GaN in particular, and how it has led to the development of blue, green and UV las… Read More

Laser Diode Fundamentals: What are Longitudinal Modes?

Laser diodes must meet two critical requirements to facilitate the lasing process. The first requires that, at a minimum, the laser cavity’s gain increases to the point that it reaches unity with the level of losses. This unity state is known as the gain threshold. The second requirement is that there must be a longitudinal mode present inside the optical cavity, coinciding with the laser’s gain curve. This article explores precisely what longitudinal modes are and how they affect the laser diode’s pe… Read More

Peak Power and Average Power in ns and Sub-ns Lasers

A significant and well-recognized difference between lasers and conventional, incoherent light sources, is the ability to concentrate laser emission in short pulses, with durations going down to a few femtoseconds, containing potentially only a few optical cycles. Technically, you can drive an incoherent LED source using current pulses. However, each pulse would have a maximum power (i.e. a peak power) equal to the average power of the same device if a continuous bias were applied. Only laser cavities can concentrate the stored energy within active materials in such a way to achieve peak powers orders of magnitude higher than their ave… Read More

TO-Can Laser Diode Heat Dissipation

When operating a laser diode, proper thermal management is critical to avoid damage. A few key aspects to consider are the generation and dissipation of waste heat, laser diode operating temperature, and proper heatsinking. This article will focus on TO-Can packages, giving consideration to these key aspects and providing useful information for proper thermal m… Read More

What is Single Longitudinal Mode

Within the laser community, one of the most overused and often miscommunicated terms is the phrase “single mode.”  This is because a laser beam when traveling through air takes up a three-dimensional volume in space similar to that of a cylinder; and just as with a cylinder, a laser beam can be divided into independent coordinates each with their own mode structure.  For a cylinder we would call these the length and the cross-section, but as shown in the figure below for a laser beam, we define these as the transverse electromagnetic (TEM) plane and the longitud… Read More

Flexible 210-4500nm ns Laser Family for High Pulse Energy Applications

Quantum Light Instruments’ (QLI’s) main product line is the Quantas Family.  This family of lasers offers compact, air-cooled, high-energy, low rep rate, DPSS lasers at the fundamental wavelengths of 1064 and 1053nm, as well as the less common 1163, 1177, 1300, 1317, 1551 and 1571nm options. They offer standard harmonic wavelengths, through the 5th harmonic (211 and 213nm), with the addition of an external harmonics module. The Quantas Family was designed for a wide range of applications that require high peak power / high ener… Read More

OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Mission – Equipped with a Microchip Laser

Check out this amazing mission, in which the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is traveling to Bennu, a carbonaceous asteroid whose regolith may record the earliest history of our solar system. Bennu may contain the molecular precursors to the origin of life and the Earth’s oceans. This craft is equipped with many instruments, including a Microchip Laser offered by RPMC Lasers with over 1 billion shots and counting!  Click here to read all about the OSIRIS-REx Mission! This same Microchip Laser is available from RP… Read More

Infrared Detection – THz Gap: QCLs Solve Unique Problems and Save You Time, Money, and Effort

Traditionally, long-wave infrared detectors have been costly, gallium arsenide- or indium phosphide-based detectors found in night vision cameras. While cheaper and easier to produce in volume, CMOS technology suffered from the so-called ‘THz gap’ or ‘far-infrared gap’ of the electromagnetic spectrum, unable to detect these long wavelengths. Today, an intriguing solution is becoming available in the form of a THz range CMOS detector for cost-effective, long-wave infrared … Read More

Chip-Scale Laser Breakthrough: Tunable, Single-Frequency, Integrated Photonics Down to 404 nm!

The Nanophotonics Group at Columbia has developed a high-performance, chip-scale laser platform that is tunable and offers various performance metrics. This innovative platform opens up new opportunities for various applications, such as quantum optics, atomic clocks, biosensing, laser displays for augmented and virtual reality, and underwater Li-Fi. The group’s laser platform is based on the concept of self-injection locking and provides the possibility to shrink current technologies and make them accessible to the gener… Read More

Green is the New Orange: Simple Technique Could Change the Laser Industry

Scientists at the Brookhaven National Laboratory have published a study in which they demonstrate a new color-shifting strategy for lasers that uses interactions between the laser and the chemical bonds of materials called “ionic liquids.” This new method is simple, efficient, and highly customizable, and can change the color of laser light while retaining other important properties of the laser beam. Learn more about this groundbreaking method, its applications and how it could change the world … Read More

HeNe Lasers VS Diode Lasers: HeNe Laser Pros and Cons

Historically, Helium-Neon (HeNe) lasers were often the first choice for precision instrumentation, measurement setups and some spectroscopy applications. It was invented in 1960 and technologically it was one of the first lasers with extraordinary good parameters. The mechanical and optical design is quite simple (apart from sophisticated glasswork to make the tube itself) but the gas lasing medium and overall construction provide some intrinsic advantages. But also a number of disadv… Read More

Laser Lightning: Breakthrough Experiment Guides Lightning Discharges with High-Intensity Laser Pulses

Scientists have successfully demonstrated that laser-induced filaments in the sky can guide lightning discharges over long distances, potentially leading to progress in lightning protection and physics. The research, conducted on a mountain in Switzerland using a high-repetition-rate terawatt laser, recorded the guidance of an upward negative lightning leader over a distance of 50m and was corroborated by other measurements. This is the first field-result to experimentally demonstrate lightning guided by lasers, opening the possibility for new atmospheric applications of ultrasho… Read More

Caught in the Tractor Beam: Moving Macroscopic Objects with Lasers!

Light contains both energy and momentum that can be used for various types of optical manipulation such as levitation and rotation. Optical tweezers, for example, are commonly used scientific instruments that use laser light to hold and manipulate tiny objects such as atoms or cells. For the last ten years, scientists have been working on a new type of optical manipulation: using laser light to create an optical tractor beam that could pul… Read More

NASA: Say Goodbye to Traffic with the Future of Automated Electric Air Taxis

NASA is using tabletop exercises to test how electric air taxis will fit safely into the national airspace, allowing passengers to one day hop across town or to a neighboring city. The agency partnered with industry, academia, and other government agencies in a series of 10 expert-led tabletop exercises to examine technical, operational, and regulatory gaps and define the best use of combined resources to add… Read More

Giant Laser from ‘Star Trek’ to be Tested in Fusion Breakthrough

The breakthrough came in an impossibly small slice of time, less than it takes a beam of light to move an inch. In that tiny moment, nuclear fusion as an energy source went from far-away dream to reality. The world is now grappling with the implications of the historic milestone. For Arthur Pak and the countless other scientists who’ve spent decades getting to this point, the work is just beginning…
We found that a typical commercial toilet generates a strong upward jet of air with velocities exceeding 6.6 feet per second (2 meters per second), rapidly carrying these particles up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) above the bowl within eight seconds of the start of th… Read More

Disgusting! What Lasers Reveal About Toilets

Toilets are designed to efficiently empty the contents inside the bowl through a downward motion into the drain pipe. In the flush cycle, water comes into forceful contact with the contents inside the bowl and creates a fine spray of particles suspended in air.

We found that a typical commercial toilet generates a strong upward jet of air with velocities exceeding 6.6 feet per second (2 meters per second), rapidly carrying these particles up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) above the bowl within eight seconds of the start of th… Read More

Enemy Forces Beware: The AC-130J Ghostrider Gunship’s Ominous Green Beam is Coming for You

The AC-130 is one of the US military’s most capable aircraft. Ground troops love the gunship and the capabilities it brings to the fight, but it can be effective even without deploying its large arsenal. During the chaotic evacuation of Kabul, Afghanistan, in August 2021, two AC-130J Ghostrider crews used a little-known laser sensor on their planes to help control the situation around the airport and keep enemy forces at bay as friendly troops carried out the e… Read More

Burning Drones Out of the Sky With UK’s New DragonFire Laser

At a range in southern England, researchers tested a new laser, making it one step closer to military use. Developed for the Ministry of Defence, DragonFire is intended to be a long-range answer to incoming threats, a way to defeat projectiles in mid-air through the concentrated power of intense light. On November 8, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) announced it had conducted long-range laser trials at the Porton Down site. During the live fire test, the laser hit and neutralized a small drone at a range o… Read More

Brain Cells Play ‘Pong’ in the Laboratory!

In an effort to learn more about the effects of drugs on the brain and develop treatments for neurodegenerative conditions like epilepsy and dementia, scientists have grown human and mouse brain cells on a microelectrode array in a Petri dish. This living model, layered with 800,000 living brain cells, is currently playing the classic Atari video game ‘Pong.’ Next, the scientists plan to get the… Read More

Record Laser Data Transfer: The Entire World’s Bandwidth in One Second

Scientists are breaking optical data transmission records at record pace (see what I did there). The newest transmission record is quite staggering. Average broadband download speeds in the US come in at around 167 megabits per second. This new optical data transfer record multiplies that rate by approximately… 10.8 million… Read More

New AI Laser System Detects & Kills Cockroaches

Controlling insect pests still relies on the extensive usage of generic and established methods, such as pesticides, which utilize broad spectrum chemicals or toxins persisting in the environment and targeting non-pest insect species. Therefore, more effective and environmental friendly approaches are needed to counteract these damagin… Read More