Despite their name, heat-seeking missiles actually seek a characteristic infrared light given off by hot objects. Though invisible to the human eye, tiny detectors inside the missiles can detect this infrared light and use it for guidance.
To ensure the safety of aircraft, infrared countermeasure (IRCM) systems are used to confuse or blind the detectors. These systems require a high-power light source that can emit light at the correct wavelength. While various existing light sources may be able to succeed in disrupting the detectors, most are based on technology that is both bulky and expensive. Therefore, only a few military aircraft are now protected by IRCM systems. Developing a compact and inexpensive infrared light source will allow for widespread use of IRCMs, but it has proven to be a significant technical challenge.
A new type of diode laser, called the quantum cascade laser (QCL), may eventually change this situation. Diode lasers are inherently compact and suitable for mass-production, which has led to their widespread and low-cost use in everyday products, including CD and DVD players.
The Center for Quantum Devices (CQD) at Northwestern University, led by Manijeh Razeghi, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has recently made great strides in laser design, material growth and laser fabrication that have greatly increased the output power and power conversion efficiency of QCLs. The center has now demonstrated individual lasers emitting at wavelengths of 3.8 and 4 microns, capable of up to 1.6 watts of continuous output power at cryogenic temperatures. These lasers have a threshold current density of less than 400 A/cm2 and a power conversion efficiency of 10 percent.
With further development, the researchers at CQD hope to use laser arrays to achieve a continuous output of 10 watts or more. At this wavelength and power level, the lasers could be extremely useful for aircraft protection.
Another significant breakthrough is the ability to operate these 3.8 and 4 micron lasers at room temperature. Room temperature continuous-wave operation has been demonstrated from the same devices with up to 150 milliwatts of output power. This room temperature development makes the lasers attractive for other applications, including early detection of toxic industrial chemicals, explosives and chemical warfare agents.
Megan Fellman | EurekAlert!
APEX takes a glimpse into the heart of darkness
25.05.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie
First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR
24.05.2018 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences