Powerful Tunable Laser Exceeds Design Goals

DOE Pulse
August 25, 1999

DOE's Jefferson Lab exceeded its design goal of 1,000 watts (a million times more powerful than the laser in a supermarket scanner) by producing 1,720 watts of infrared light from its Free Electron Laser (FEL) in July. At kilowatt levels, the Jefferson Lab FEL offers researchers a unique tool for science and industrial processing with light. The FEL may have a wide range of applications in manufacturing, including processing of plastics, more durable synthetic fibers, corrosion resistant metals and advanced materials and components for electronics and microtechnologies. Initial industrial experiments are investigating roughening plastics, creating hardened and corrosion-resistant metal surfaces, and machining miniature structures in ceramics.