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US Air Force Studies Fiber Lasers

Photonics Spectra
Sep 2000
Scientists at the US Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., are hoping to boost the output of fiber lasers into the kilowatt range. Under the Laser Integration Technology program within the Directed Energy Directorate, the researchers are working with San Jose, Calif.-based SDL Inc. to develop a high-brightness, small-footprint system that can replace the chemical lasers currently favored as defensive weapons.

Commercial fiber lasers display average powers of 10 to 40 W. In a postdeadline paper at CLEO in May 1999, SDL announced that it had achieved 110 W of continuous-wave output from an ytterbium-doped fiber laser.


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