REDONDO BEACH, Calif., May 14, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- A fiber amplifier developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has produced an unprecedented output of 155 watts from a slender optical glass thread. The energy emerges as infrared light with a single polarization.
"This demonstration is a big step forward in the scaling of fiber lasers to high power," said Jackie Gish, technology product area manager for Northrop Grumman Space Technology. "Our approach is scaleable, and if you were to coherently combine a number of such fibers, as we're starting to do, you begin to reach significant laser power levels. Fiber amplifiers also exhibit a high 'wall plug' efficiency that yields savings in weight and power input."
The Northrop Grumman fiber amplifier possesses two key technical properties. Its single-spatial-mode fiber ensures minimum diffraction of the light beam, delivering maximum power on target. Likewise, the amplifier maintains a single polarization. This feature enables the coherent combination of output from multiple fiber amplifiers, to deliver the highest energy on target.
"Our measured results are substantially higher than any previously reported power levels for single-mode, polarization-maintaining fiber amplifiers," Gish added.
Northrop Grumman developed the fiber amplifier under a contract with the Department of Defense's Joint Technology Office. Interest is strong in fiber amplifiers because of their high efficiency, which exceeds that of slab lasers. The optical efficiency reduces the amount of waste heat that has to be rejected, in addition to providing power and weight savings.
Northrop Grumman Space Technology has been a world leader for more than 30 years in the development of high-power laser systems and lasers, including bulk solid-state lasers, fiber lasers and chemical lasers. Its technology development supports the company's major government programs in space and electronics.
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