Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

'Air laser' could find bombs at a distance
by Staff Writers
Princeton, N.J. (UPI) Jan 28, 2011

File image.

U.S. scientists say a new "air laser" will allow soldiers to detect hidden explosives from a distance and help scientists measure airborne pollutants.

Researchers at Princeton University say they've developed a technique for generating a beam of laser light out of nothing but air, a university release said Friday.

"We are able to send a laser pulse out and get another pulse back from the air itself," says Richard Miles, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton. "The returning beam interacts with the molecules in the air and carries their fingerprints."

Unlike previous remote laser-sensing methods, in which the returning beam of light is just a reflection of the outgoing beam, the "air laser" creates an entirely new laser beam generated by oxygen atoms whose electrons have been "excited" to high energy levels.

Using an ultraviolet laser pulse focused on a tiny patch of air, similar to the way a magnifying glass focuses sunlight into a hot spot, oxygen atoms in the hot spot become excited as their electrons get pumped up to high energy levels, eventually creating a coherent laser beam aimed straight back at the original laser, researchers say.

"In general, when you want to determine if there are contaminants in the air you need to collect a sample of that air and test it," Miles said. "But with remote sensing you don't need to do that. If there's a bomb buried on the road ahead of you, you'd like to detect it by sampling the surrounding air, much like bomb-sniffing dogs can do, except from far away."


Related Links
Learn about laser weapon technology at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

ONR Achieves Milestone In Free Electron Laser Program
Arlington VA (SPX) Jan 27, 2011
Scientists at Los Alamos National Lab in Los Alamos, N.M., have achieved a remarkable breakthrough with the Office of Naval Research's (ONR) Free Electron Laser (FEL) program, setting the stage for a preliminary design review. Researchers demonstrated an injector capable of producing the electrons needed to generate megawatt-class laser beams for the Navy's next-generation weapon system De ... read more

NASA's New Lander Prototype Skates Through Integration And Testing

Draper Commits One Million Dollars To Next Giant Leap's Moon Lander

Lunar water may have come from comets - scientists

Moon Has Earth-Like Core

Rover Conducting Science At Crater Rim

New images of martian moon released

DLR Researchers Simulate The Martian Atmosphere

The Southern Hemisphere Of Phobos, Up Close

NanoSail-D Flies Free

Major exhibit of NASA material opens in Stockholm

Mumbai's washermen fear rise of the machines

Solar Sail Stunner

Slow progress in U.S.-China space efforts

China Builds Theme Park In Spaceport

Tiangong Space Station Plans Progessing

China-Made Satellite Keeps Remote Areas In Venezuela Connected

Intensive Preparations For ATV Freighter Launch To ISS

Russian Space Freighter Progress M-09M Docks With ISS

Crew Attaches Japanese Resupply Vehicle To ISS

Russian cargo ship sends supplies to space

Activities At Esrange Space Center 2011

Russia Plans To Build Carrier Rocket For Mars Missions

First Delta IV Heavy Launches From Vandenberg

Beaming Rockets Into Space

Inclined Orbits Prevail

Inclined Orbits Prevail In Exoplanetary Systems

Planet Affects A Star's Spin

Kepler Mission Discovers Its First Rocky Planet

Mobile 'apps' to be $58 billion market: study

Touchscreens Made Of Carbon

DigitalGlobe Collaborates With Satellite Sentinel Project To Keep Eye On Sudan

China's Lenovo, NEC form PC joint venture in Japan

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement