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nLight to Make Air Force Lasers

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KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M., Aug. 10 -- A contract that could mean as much as $25 million to nLight Photonics Corp., a Vancouver, Wash., manufacturer of high-power semiconductor lasers, was awarded recently to the company by the Air Force Research Laboratory here, government officials announced. Over the next five years, nLight will provide the laboratory's Directed Energy Directorate with semiconductor laser research and products.

According to Ted Salvi, the project officer in the directorate's Laser Division, this contract involves individual task orders or specific assignments directed by government scientists. The initial task order, "Wafer Integrated Semiconductor Lasers," is for $951,400. It will develop lower-cost and more reliable semiconductor (diode) lasers for use in pumping high-power solid-state lasers. The contractor is paid for undertaking these tasks over the life of the contract, up to $25 million.

High-power solid-state lasers first became commercially available in the early 1990s. Compared to chemical lasers, they are small and lightweight, offering high efficiency, reliability and brightness, making them useful in a wide variety of military applications. The Directed Energy Directorate continues to explore this utility, developing more powerful and efficient solid-state lasers.

Founded in 2000, nLight was initially established to develop next-generation diode lasers for direct use and for use as optical pumps on solid-state laser systems.

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Aug 2004
Air Force Research Laboratorydefensediode lasersDirected Energy DirectorateNews & FeaturesnLight Photonicssemiconductor laserslasers

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