ESA and Midaz Lasers to develop alexandrite lasers for LIDAR

Dec. 14, 2009
December 14, 2009--The European Space Agency (ESA) and Midaz Lasers Limited (London, England), a spin-out company from Imperial College London, will work together on a development program to use alexandrite lasers to replace Nd:YAG lasers as the dominant source for light detection and ranging (LIDAR) applications.

December 14, 2009--The European Space Agency (ESA) and Midaz Lasers Limited (London, England), a spin-out company from Imperial College London, will work together on a development program to use alexandrite lasers to replace Nd:YAG lasers as the dominant source for light detection and ranging (LIDAR) applications.

Capable of measuring a wide variety of atmospheric parameters, LIDAR is a remote sensing technology suited to measurements including wind speed, temperature, aerosols and the density and distribution of pollutant gases. LIDAR is currently dominated by YAG lasers as the laser source of choice but they can suffer from low efficiency and applications are restricted by lack of wavelength tunability which severely limits the scientific data they can acquire.

Midaz Lasers has significant expertise in the design and development of high power diode-pumped solid state (DPSS) lasers. The company's technology team, led by professor Michael Damzen, have planned a technology development program based on the potential benefits of alexandrite laser performance including higher wall-plug efficiency (to improve power/weight restrictions on mobile platforms) and ultimately the possibility of tuning the laser system in the ultraviolet (UV).

Lidar Technologies Limited is a world leader in the development of LIDAR systems and is providing technical support and expertise for the execution of the project and subsequent phases of development. The ESA has offered funding of nearly $220,000 dollars (150,000 Euro) for the initial development phase as first step in a road map towards implementation. This funding enables an engineered version of the diode-pumped Alexandrite laser to be constructed by Midaz. Other commercial applications for the Alexandrite laser will also be assessed and exploitation routes determined.

For more information, go to www.midaz.co.uk.

--Posted by Gail Overton, [email protected]; www.laserfocusworld.com.

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