US Air Force Develops All-Gas Chemical Laser
The Air Force Research Laboratory Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico has developed an all-gas chemical laser that may eventually be used in the Airborne Laser and Space-Based Laser programs. The research lab's High Power Gas and Chemical Laser Branch has been working on the device for five years and hopes to have it completed by 2003.
Like its previous chemical oxygen-iodine laser, the lab's all-gas-phase iodine laser displays near-infrared output at 1.315 µm. Because the new laser is powered by the reaction of two gases -- nitrogen chloride and atomic iodine -- it has the potential advantages of light weight and zero-gravity-environment operation.
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