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Chemical Laser Advances

Photonics Spectra
Sep 1999
Daniel S. Burgess

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Researchers at the University of Illinois have brought the chemical oxygen-iodine laser closer to the industrial market. A redesigned nozzle and nitrogen instead of helium as the buffer gas have made the device more efficient and cost-effective.

Researcher David Carroll noted that the chemical laser can achieve >40 kW at 1.3 µm and is suitable for remote applications requiring fiber delivery of a high-power beam. He said it could be used to dismantle nuclear facilities and to repair ships without dry-docking, and it could play other manufacturing roles.

First demonstrated in 1977, the chemical oxygen-iodine laser was developed by the US Air Force Research Lab at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.

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