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




RAY GUNS
New System Developed To Test And Evaluate High-Energy Laser Weapons
by Staff Writers
Atlanta GA (SPX) Aug 24, 2010


Before high-energy lasers can be mounted on aircraft to deliver energy powerful enough to destroy cruise missiles and rockets, they must be tested and evaluated at test ranges. The reusable target board shown here enables the power and energy distribution of the high-energy laser beam to be accurately measured with high spatial and temporal resolution. Credit: Georgia Tech Photo: Gary Meek.

Technologies for using laser energy to destroy threats at a distance have been in development for many years. Today, these technologies known as directed energy weapons are maturing to the point of becoming deployable.

High-energy lasers, one type of directed energy weapon, can be mounted on aircraft to deliver a large amount of energy to a far-away target at the speed of light, resulting in structural and incendiary damage. These lasers can be powerful enough to destroy cruise missiles, artillery projectiles, rockets and mortar rounds.

Before these weapons can be used in the field, the lasers must be tested and evaluated at test ranges. The power and energy distribution of the high-energy laser beam must be accurately measured on a target board, with high spatial and temporal resolution.

Researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) have developed a system to measure a laser's power and spatial energy distribution simultaneously by directing the laser beam onto a glass target board they designed.

Ultimately, the reusable target board and beam diagnostic system will help accelerate the development of such high-energy laser systems and reduce the time required to make them operational for national security purposes.

"The high-energy laser beam delivers its energy to a small spot on the target - only a couple inches in diameter - but the intensity is strong enough to melt steel," said GTRI senior research scientist David Roberts.

"Our goal was to develop a method for determining how many watts of energy were hitting that area and how the energy distribution changed over time so that the lasers can be optimized."

GTRI teamed with Leon Glebov of Orlando-based OptiGrate to design and fabricate a target board that could survive high-energy laser irradiation without changing its properties or significantly affecting the beam. The researchers selected OptiGrate's handmade photo-thermo-refractive glass - a sodium-zinc-aluminum-silicate glass doped with silver, cerium and fluorine - for the target board.

"This glass is unique in that it is transparent, but also photosensitive like film so you can record holograms and other optical structures in the glass, then 'develop' them in a furnace," explained Roberts.

The researchers tweaked the optical characteristics of the glass so that the board would resist degradation and laser damage. OptiGrate also had to create a new mold to produce four-inch by four-inch pieces of the glass - a size four times larger than OptiGrate had ever made before.

During testing, the four-inch-square target board is secured between a test target and a high-energy laser, and the beam irradiance profile on the board is imaged by a remote camera. The images are then analyzed to provide a contour map showing the power density - watts per square inch - at every location where the beam hit the target.

"We can also simultaneously collect power measurements as a function of time with no extra equipment," noted Roberts.

"Previously, measuring the total energy delivered by the laser required a ball calorimeter and temperature measurements had to be collected as the laser heated the interior of the ball. Now we can measure the total energy along with the total power and power density anywhere inside the beam more than one hundred times per second."

GTRI's prototype target boards and a high-energy laser beam profiling system that uses those boards were delivered to Kirtland Air Force Base's Laser Effects Test Facility in May. The researchers successfully demonstrated them using the facility's 50-kilowatt fiber laser and measured power densities as high as 10,000 watts per square centimeter without damaging the beam profiler.

Scaling the system up to larger target board sizes is possible, according to Roberts.

.


Related Links
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News
Learn about laser weapon technology at SpaceWar.com






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

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




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





RAY GUNS
Truck-borne laser weapon to be on way soon
Washington (UPI) Jul 28, 2010
A powerful laser weapon that can fit on a light truck is set to be the military's answer to the dilemma of overreacting to enemy attack and harming friendly forces in the process. The laser-beam weapon, being developed by the U.S. Army and Boeing, is seen to be a more focused alternative to artillery or rocket response to enemy action that usually results in innocent civilians or friend ... read more


RAY GUNS
Caterpillar Joins Sponsors Of First Expedition

LRO Reveals Incredible Shrinking Moon

A Hop, Skip And A Jump On The Moon - And Beyond

China's Lunar Twins

RAY GUNS
NASA's Marks 35th Anniversary Of Mars Viking Mission

Martian 'mud' volcanoes eyed for life

Opportunity Keeps On Driving To Endeavour Crater

Trip to Mars could leave crew dangerously weak - study

RAY GUNS
SpaceX's Dragon Spacecraft Completes High Altitude Drop Test

Astronauts Stay Strong With Help From SolidWorks

Researchers Explore Physiological Effects Of Space Travel

Senate 'space jobs' bill announced

RAY GUNS
China Finishes Construction Of First Unmanned Space Module

China Contributes To Space-Based Information Access A Lot

China Sends Research Satellite Into Space

China eyes Argentina for space antenna

RAY GUNS
ISS orbit corrected

ISS Reboosted And Cooling System Fully Operational

ISS Could Last Another Decade - Roscosmos

Astronauts make third space foray to fix ISS cooling pump

RAY GUNS
Arianespace Announces Launch Contracts For Intelsat-20 And GSAT 10 Satellites

Arianespace Launches Two Satellites

New Rocket Launch Period In And Around Tanegashima

Kourou Spaceport Welcomes New Liquid Oxygen And Liquid Nitrogen Production Facility

RAY GUNS
Planets In Unusually Intimate Dance Around Dying Star

Detector Technology Could Help NASA Find Earth-Like Exoplanets

NASA Finds Super-Hot Planet With Unique Comet-Like Tail

Recipes For Renegade Planets

RAY GUNS
Nokia and Intel launch joint research lab

Smartphones to make up over half of Asian sales by 2015

Scientist: World's helium being squandered

Japan's Panasonic to boost plasma panel output in China




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