In a world-leading study researchers at Macquarie University have proven a method for multiplying laser power using diamond, demonstrating that a laser similar to the Star Wars ‘superlaser’ may no longer remain in science fiction.
The research, published in Laser and Photonics Reviews demonstrates a concept – reminiscent of the Star Wars Death Star sci-fi laser – where the power of multiple laser beams is transferred into a single intense output beam that can be directed to the intended target.
“Researchers are developing high power lasers to combat threats to security from the increased proliferation of low-cost drones and missile technology. High power lasers are also needed in space applications including powering space vehicles and tackling the growing space junk problem that threatens satellites,” said co-author Associate Professor Rich Mildren.
The key to the high-powered beam is placing an ultra-pure diamond crystal at the point of convergence, and the beam-combining is achieved in diamond by harnessing a co-operative effect of the crystal that causes intense light beams to transfer their power into a selected direction while avoiding the beam distortion problems of single laser technologies.
Diamond beam combining is a novel alternative to other concepts being currently trialed elsewhere in the world, and in this study, beam combining in diamond has the unique advantage that the process also changes the colour of the laser beam.
Explore further: Diamond makes laser beams more brilliant.
Diamond-based concept for combining beams at very high average powers, Laser & Photonics Reviews.