Novel infrared laser technology for modern battlefield requirements

Novel infrared laser technology for modern battlefield requirementsThe SET-210 specialist meeting on infrared laser technology for modern battlefield requirements was held on the 24th and 25th of July at the Defence CBRN Centre near Salisbury in the UK.  46 attendees from 7 nations enjoyed a stimulating, exciting and condensed couple of days exchanging ideas, concepts and information on the latest developments in laser technology and discussing the needs of emerging and enduring military laser requirements.

The meeting reviewed the applicability and technical readiness of various infrared laser technologies against modern military requirements. Information was exchanged including a number of technical records in terms of laser power, spectral coverage, divergence and encoding techniques, all with a view towards exploitation in the military domain captured through wall plug-efficiency, robustness to mechanical vibrations, temperature fluctuations and manufacturability. The technical quality of the attendees and their broad expertise and deep knowledge provided a unique opportunity to identify and initiate new international collaborations to address the most pressing military laser requirements.

The 22 short presentations (including 3 keynote papers) were organised into three laser technology and three applications driven sessions. The technology sessions on the first day covered traditional solid-state laser technology, waveguide and fibre lasers and infrared diode laser technology. The applications sessions, principally on the second day, covered high energy and power applications, stand-off chemical and explosive detection and active imaging.

A discussion session was held on the final afternoon to capture the key messages emerging from the meeting which included:

  • The need to further automation in the production of quantum cascade lasers to meet the demands for affordable laser systems with spectral diversity and Watt level output.
  • The emerging opportunities in infrared fibre technology to generate (and potentially) control super-continuum generation for stand-off chemical detection and IRCM.
  •  Opportunities to operate long-range 2D and 3D active imaging further into the infrared to exploit the improved wall-plug efficiency of new high-energy sources.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014