A laser which harnesses the properties of diamond to create a superior strength ‘super laser’ is now a reality, due to the work of researchers at Macquarie University.
Using diamond, the researchers have demonstrated a concept where the power of multiple laser beams is transferred into a single intense output beam that can be directed to the intended target. The result is a high-powered beam with a number of real world applications, including defence, powering space vehicles and managing the growing problem of space junk.
“Researchers are developing high power lasers to combat threats to security from the increased proliferation of low-cost drones and missile technology,” said co-author of the recently publish research, Associate Professor Rich Mildren.
By placing an ultra-pure diamond crystal at the point where multiple laser beams converge, the beam-combining is achieved by harnessing a co-operative effect of the crystal that causes intense light beams to transfer their power into a selected direction. As a result, this method avoids the beam distortion problems of single laser technologies.
Lead experimentalist Dr Aaron McKay, explains “this discovery is technologically important as laser researchers are struggling with increasing power beyond a certain level due to the large challenges in handling the large heat build-up, and combining beams from multiple lasers is one of the most promising ways to substantially raise the power barrier”.