June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Nuclear and Radiological
24.99.1 - 24.99.27
A Review of Nuclear-Pumped LasersMark A. Prelas and Matthew WatermannNuclear Science and Engineering Institute, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO firstname.lastname@example.org, 573-882-9691Nuclear-Pumped Laser (NPL) technology was a part of the strategic defense initiative (SDI)program in the 1980’s but has since faded from the United States research agenda. NPLs stillremain an active part of the research agenda in other countries. For example, Russia and othercountries in the Former Soviet Union have maintained their NPL research programs and Chinahas a strong interest in NPL research. The reason for this broad interest in the technology is thata NPL can scale to high power/energy levels (potentially up to 100 MW continuous wave beampower). Military applications have dominated the research agenda. However, there aresignificant humanitarian applications for high power/energy lasers. For example a high powercontinuous wave NPL would have the capability to deflect asteroids or comets. Other importantapplications are in space propulsion, power transmission, and asteroid mining.Despite the promise, there are significant problems in NPL development. High power/highenergy gas lasers by their nature require high pumping power densities. That is why many of themost powerful gas lasers are pulsed. NPLs do not generate high power densities, but do generategood energy densities. This limits the type of high power/high energy gas lasers systems that canbe driven by NPL technologies. Other issues involve the large size and scale of NPLs using gaslaser technology as well as the design of reactor cores dedicated to the production of laser beams.Several promising approaches were developed including the development of nuclear-drivenflashlamps which can increase the effective pumping power density through photon focusing andthus open up new possibilities for both gaseous and solid-state high power/high energy lasersystems.
Prelas, M. A., & Watermann, M. L., & Wisniewski, D. A., & Neher, J. A., & Weaver, C. L. (2014, June), A Review of Nuclear Pumped Lasers and Applications (Asteroid Deflection) Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/19991
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