First diamond laser built using Raman technique portends future high-power laser sources

December 11, 2008--A team of physicists at Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia) has created what it calls "the first diamond laser using a technique based on the Raman effect." The achievement has demonstrated a new, more effective method for generating a powerful beam, and has shown that chemical vapor deposition (CVD) diamonds are of adequate size and quality to enable exploration of a new class of laser devices.

"This research could pave the way for new laser sources over a wide range of wavelengths and with very high power levels," said research leader Richard Mildren. "Using natural diamonds in this type of work is problematic -- the quality is not consistent and, as everybody knows, they're very expensive," he noted.

He explains that CVD diamond production has improved substantially in the past two to three years, and now, "a one centimetre-long crystal can be purchased for around $2000."

Mildren says, "The next step is to see how effectively CVD diamond lasers operate at even higher power levels. We'd also like to investigate the potential for diamond Raman lasers in the ultraviolet and long wave infrared regions where other materials can't operate."
Mildren said there is potential for diamond Raman lasers to be used in everything from terahertz threat detection such as body-scanning devices at airports; ultra high precision laser surgery; and defense applications including directed energy weapons.

For more information see Macquarie University's website.

Posted by Barbara G. Goode, barbarag@pennwell.com.

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