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Lasers Keep Runways Safe

Photonics Spectra
Apr 2001
A laser illumination system developed by Greatland Laser LLC of Anchorage, Alaska, promises to reduce the accident rate of taxiing aircraft. Currently in testing at the US Federal Aviation Administration's Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J., the system highlights the painted lines that indicate critical areas and boundaries on the runway.

Because atmospheric particulates create a "wall of light," the system works best in inclement weather, when it is most needed. The company uses a 100-mW frequency-doubled Nd:YAG to generate green lines and a 75-mW, 650-nm laser diode to produce red, and combines the output to approximate yellow.

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