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Solar Light Pumped Laser


Theoretical and Experimental Studies on Development of Photodissociation Laser Pumped by Solar Light

Tech Area / Field

  • PHY-OPL/Optics and Lasers/Physics

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Malakhov Yu I

Leading Institute
VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov

Supporting institutes

  • Russian Scientific Center of Applied Chemistry, Russia, St Petersburg


  • University of Electro-Communication / Institute for Laser Science, Japan, Tokyo\nNational Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA, CO, Golden

Project summary

Short project description

The objective of the project is to develop the demo sample of photo-dissociation laser of ~ 10 Wt power in continuous mode pumped by solar light with follow-on delivery of recommends on feasibility of ~ 100 kWt power laser creation.

One of the urgent goals at present is the development of laser devices, which can be used for super distant communications in space and transmission of solar energy to the earth or space satellites as well as for different technological processes in space using laser technologies, namely for cutting and welding of different units. The laser being considered can successfully solve these problems.

No less urgent, from the viewpoint of assimilation circumterrestrial space, is creation of alternative systems for interorbital flights of cargo spacecrafts. Laser engines provide a reasonable compromise, when the draft pulse characterizing depletion of the fuel is low, while the time needed to reach high orbits (for instance, geostationary) comprises the acceptable value of 10 to 30 days.

Development activities will incorporate determination of such optimum parameters as composition of laser active medium, temperature, and gas-dynamic characteristics of active medium flux. Optimization includes a big volume of spectral and photochemistry investigations of the number of poorly studied compositions (~ 10 fluorodides). The goal of optimization is to achieve maximum power at minimum mass, as well as to realize a completely closed cycle for laser active medium. As a result of working mode optimization the coefficient of efficiency is expected to be from 50% to 70% higher then one presently achieved (~ 1%).

As a result the initial data will be obtained for designing of photo-dissociation iodine (PDIL) solar-pumped lasers of up to 100 kWt power. Of the separate interest are research activities on creation of big-scale concentrators of solar energy of 10 MWt total power, with further utilization of this power and realization of the systems to stabilize thermal mode of energy-consuming space objects.

The noticeable advantage of PDIL if compared to other solar-pumped ones as solidbody (Nd), molecular (CO/CO2), free electron and chemical (HF/DF), is the optic beam quality due to the narrow atomic luminescence (1 GHz) line and high homogeneity of the active medium. As an example, PDIL can operate at the temperatures above 100 °C without loss of active medium optical quality. The laser does not need special heat-transfer coolant and heat exchange is out of laser volume.

Above all, PDIL is quite elaborate from the viewpoint of big scale systems creation. The above excess solar energy from laser concentrators PDIL can be used, as an example, to create other solar laser types combined with PDILs.

Conducted on the base of known literature data the evaluation of weight-size features of 100 kWt PHIL shows that the weight of mirror-concentrator (polyamide film with aluminum covering) together with the framework by the size ~ 104 м2 will be near 300 kg, the weight of fluor-polymer film tube together with the spare of working material - near 100 kg, approximately total weight of laser together with mirrors, heat pump, radiator for heat irradiation will be near 1000 kg. Merit calculations on heat and optical features have shown a possibility of use proposed film materials for specified laser elements.

Until now the domestic PDIL concept have had advantages before the foreign one. It have been implemented in big-scale installation "Iskra-5" and special PDILs pumped by shock wave light of ~ 1 MJ energy in the pulse. Russia disposes of the plant to produce PDIL active substances of high quality and different structure, having no foreign analogs. Several enterprises have laboratory/production installations to test PDILs of any type. However systematic experiments with solar pumped PDILs are not conducted in Russia. Laboratory researches made in NASA, USA, are known.

In RNTs PKh draft laboratory stand development for modeling of different elements of continuously working PDIL is conducted. Stand comprises pumping lamps, imitating out-atmospheric radiation of Sun, film tube, refrigerator, sorbtion filters, heaters, checking and measuring instruments. Size of stand is 2ґ1.5ґ1 m.

The team of executors can provide the proposed development activities, as having:

· the unique test/production plant to produce PDIL active substances, having no foreign analogs;
· laboratory for generation and photochemistry investigations and the production plant for their implementation run by the qualified personnel;
· expertise of simulation of real PDILs and the ability to make any level models;
· expertise of the development of film mirrors and dishes having small mass.

Estimated results

As a result of the project execution we estimate to obtain:

· demo sample of ~ 10 Wt power photo-dissociation laser in continuous mode pumped by the sunlight;
· recommendations on creation of up to ~ 100 kWt power laser.

Within execution of the project the active substances will be selected as well, such as CnF2n+1I; technology of close-cycle laser operation will be tested; samples of film mirrors and dishes will be manufactured.

As a result of demo model trial operation the new data of scientific interest will be acquired.

Technical approach and methodology

The proposed activities will involve the long-term expertise accumulated at RFNC-VNIIEF and RNTs PKh on creation of active media for PDILs; designing and creation of big-scale laser systems and optic elements using modern technologies and materials.

The project-related activities will be accomplished at the available at RFNC-VNIIEF and RNTs PKh experimental stands, equipped with the modern diagnostic and measuring devices.

The results of project-related activities will be regularly presented at the international conferences and workshops and discussed with foreign collaborators.

Participation of foreign partners

The number of foreign laser laboratories such as Institute for Laser Science, University of Electro-communications and Tohoku University, Japan as well as Department of Physics, Hampton University and NASA, Langly Research Center, Hampton, USA, has demonstrated obvious interest to the theme of project. The project executors intend to contact with the same and the future collaboration is viewed in the form of consultations and discussions of the results obtained.


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