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  • Air Force Lab, U New Mexico to Study Chemical Lasers
Dec 2003
KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M., Dec. 12 -- Improved chemical lasers is just one of the expected outcomes of a collaboration between the University of New Mexico and the Air Force Research Laboratory here. Research opportunities for graduate students and a pipeline for future laser scientists are two other goals of the three-year cooperative research and development agreement, signed this week by the laboratory's Directed Energy Directorate and the Albuquerque-based university.

Research will be conducted at the directorate's Chemical Laser Facility on Kirtland Air Force Base by directorate scientists working with university professors and graduate students. Their research will focus on how the chemicals flow within a laser system, how those chemicals are mixed in subsonic and supersonic nozzles and how they interact.

Examples of chemical lasers include the chemical oxygen iodine laser and all gas-phase iodine laser, both invented by directorate scientists. Other examples are the hydrogen fluoride laser, deuterium fluoride laser and high-speed flow discharge lasers, all of which use the interaction of various chemicals to produce a reaction or a reaction that generates laser light. Researchers will observe, measure and analyze these chemical flows and their mixing, with the aim of improving the operation of all these lasers.

The directorate will use equipment for the research including a $250,000, one-of-a-kind planar laser-induced fluorescence, an instrument that looks at chemicals as they are combined and detects how well chemical mixing nozzles are working.

According to Gordon Hager, technical advisor for the directorate's chemical laser branch and the overseer of the agreement, "We all gain from the arrangement. Not only does the technology advance, but this opens the door for the university to gain additional federal research monies. It will also provide a training ground that will help turn students into future scientists in a technology area that doesn't often offer students this kind of an opportunity."

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