Use of laser technology is common in various fields of application today, but with the progress in technological advancements, next-gen lasers need to be updated and improved too. This is the reason why a group of researchers from NASA has decided to make an experiment with femtosecond laser module.
Femtosecond laser systems are ultrafast fiber lasers that operate at wavelengths from 1.0 μm and 1.5 μm. Herewith, femtosecond fiber lasers, like other types of fiber lasers, offer lower cost of ownership, eco-friendly technology, and high beam quality. These qualities make femtosecond fiber lasers highly desirable for multiple fields of application.
NASA team consider that this ultrafast fiber laser that is able to emit pulses of light 100 millionths of a nanosecond in duration could significantly advance the way of NASA manufacture and finally allow assembling the device components made of different materials. The experiment demonstrates that the femtosecond laser system has managed to weld glass to copper and glass to glass, as well as drill hair-sized pinholes in different materials. Nowadays the research group plans to test the fiber laser’s abilities with more exotic types of glass such as sapphire and Zerodur, and metals such as titanium, Invar, Kovar, and aluminum that are ideally fit for spaceflight tools.
The main aim of the femtosecond laser’s test is to find out whether the laser module is able to weld larger pieces of these materials or not. The researchers consider that very soon the laser technology will demonstrate its efficiency at adhering windows onto laser housings and optics to metal mounts, among other applications. Moreover, they believe that there are a lot of new ways of laser technology’s applications in fabricating and packaging photonic integrated circuits, for uses ranging from communications and data centers to optical sensors.
It should be noted that femtosecond laser systems have a lot of benefits that include:
- The waveguide medium eliminates the need for precise alignment and makes long cavity length possible;
- Fiber lasers offer high beam quality, which is extremely valuable for many areas of fiber laser applications;
- Fiber gain media are efficient and can adequate levels of power for bio-imaging;
- Fiber lasers are naturally suitable for integration with endoscopic instruments.
Thus, the NASA team is sure that they will be able to adapt this emerging technology to a wide variety of flight applications.