U.S. scientists set laser record

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — U.S. physicists have broken another record using the world's most powerful, tunable laser — the Free-Electron Laser.

The researchers at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Va., report producing a 14.2 kilowatt beam of laser light at an infrared wavelength of 1.61 microns on Oct. 30.

"This wavelength is of interest to the Navy for transmission of light through the maritime atmosphere and for material science applications," said Fred Dylla, Jefferson Lab's chief technology officer and associate director of the Free-Electron Laser Division.

He said the laser's new capabilities will enhance a wide range of applications.

"This milestone supports the Navy's vision for the ultimate development of a very high power FEL that will serve as part of a ship-based weapon system and provide precise, speed-of-light energy projection at sea," added program manager Lewis DeSandre. "The goal is to reach higher power levels that will provide persuasive evidence and support the eventual realization of FEL as a promising candidate for meeting several of the Navy's broad mission requirements and defeating 21st century threats."