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Air Force Supports Advancement of Solid-State Laser

Photonics Spectra
Jan 2003
The US Air Force Research Laboratory's Directed Energy Direc-torate has awarded a contract of $16.9 million to Raytheon Co. of El Segundo, Calif., and one of $21.3 million to TRW Inc. of Redondo Beach, Calif., for the development of a 25,000-W electrically powered, solid-state laser. The Air Force will evaluate the contractors' lasers in 2004 with particular attention given to beam quality. The technology may be small enough to fit aboard fighter aircraft and could be used to destroy short-range attacking missiles or to blind an enemy's optical sensors.


GLOSSARY
solid-state laser
A laser using a transparent substance (crystalline or glass) as the active medium, doped to provide the energy states necessary for lasing. The pumping mechanism is the radiation from a powerful light source, such as a flash lamp. The ruby and Nd:YAG lasers are solid-state lasers.
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