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Clemson Receives Funding from DoD for Laser Weaponry Research

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Two researchers at Clemson University are taking different but complementary approaches to creating a high-energy laser that could be used as a weapon. The engineers are receiving a combined $3.2 million from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to help fund the research.

Professor John Ballato is investigating materials that could be used to for the optical fiber that will channel light from the high-intensity laser. Professor Lin Zhu is developing diodes that will convert electricity to light for a high intensity beam that shines in one direction only.

John Ballato and Lin Zhu receive DOD funding for laser weaponry research, Clemson University.

John Ballato (left) and Lin Zhu (right) are taking two separate but complementary paths to creating lasers that can be deployed to the battlefield for defense purposes. Courtesy of Clemson University.

Much of the laser research at Clemson is based out of COMSET, the Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies.

COMSET director Stephen Foulger congratulated Ballato and Zhu on their grants.

“They have done a spectacular job in adding to Clemson’s already stellar reputation in defense research, especially as it relates to lasers,” he said. “Their awards are well-deserved and a testament to the strength of their research and the COMSET program.”

Clemson has maintained its relationship with the military through two wars, while building up research infrastructure and expertise. COMSET now has the only industry-grade optical fiber capability at a U.S. university.

Other Clemson researchers to receive funding from the DoD's High-Energy Laser Joint Technology Office include professor Liang Dong and professor Eric Johnson. Professor Joe Kolis has been a key collaborator on laser-focused research.

Photonics Spectra
Sep 2017
optical fiber
A thin filament of drawn or extruded glass or plastic having a central core and a cladding of lower index material to promote total internal reflection (TIR). It may be used singly to transmit pulsed optical signals (communications fiber) or in bundles to transmit light or images.
Research & TechnologyeducationsfundingDoDAmericaslasersoptical fiberlaser weaponrydefenseawardslight speed

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