Photonics Dictionary

directed energy

Directed energy refers to a type of energy that is emitted and transferred in a controlled direction. The term is often associated with military and technological applications where energy, typically in the form of electromagnetic radiation, is focused and directed toward a specific target. Directed energy systems can take various forms, including lasers and high-power microwaves. The key characteristic is the intentional concentration of energy to achieve a desired effect on a target.

In military contexts, directed energy weapons (DEWs) use focused energy beams for offensive or defensive purposes. Examples include:

Lasers: Laser weapons use highly focused and amplified light to damage or destroy targets. They can be used for precision targeting, disabling sensors, or destroying unmanned aerial vehicles.

Microwave weapons: High-power microwave devices emit concentrated microwaves to disrupt or damage electronic systems, such as communication systems or the internal components of electronic devices.

Particle beams: Particle beam weapons accelerate charged or neutral particles and direct them towards a target. These beams can have various effects, from damaging electronic systems to causing physical destruction.

Directed energy systems are of interest for their potential to offer several advantages, including high-speed engagement, precision targeting, and reduced collateral damage compared to traditional kinetic weapons. Ongoing research and development in this field aim to enhance the effectiveness and versatility of directed energy technologies across various applications.




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