Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

'Air laser' could find bombs at a distance

File image.
by Staff Writers
Princeton, N.J. (UPI) Jan 28, 2011
U.S. scientists say a new "air laser" will allow soldiers to detect hidden explosives from a distance and help scientists measure airborne pollutants.

Researchers at Princeton University say they've developed a technique for generating a beam of laser light out of nothing but air, a university release said Friday.

"We are able to send a laser pulse out and get another pulse back from the air itself," says Richard Miles, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton. "The returning beam interacts with the molecules in the air and carries their fingerprints."

Unlike previous remote laser-sensing methods, in which the returning beam of light is just a reflection of the outgoing beam, the "air laser" creates an entirely new laser beam generated by oxygen atoms whose electrons have been "excited" to high energy levels.

Using an ultraviolet laser pulse focused on a tiny patch of air, similar to the way a magnifying glass focuses sunlight into a hot spot, oxygen atoms in the hot spot become excited as their electrons get pumped up to high energy levels, eventually creating a coherent laser beam aimed straight back at the original laser, researchers say.

"In general, when you want to determine if there are contaminants in the air you need to collect a sample of that air and test it," Miles said. "But with remote sensing you don't need to do that. If there's a bomb buried on the road ahead of you, you'd like to detect it by sampling the surrounding air, much like bomb-sniffing dogs can do, except from far away."

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Learn about laser weapon technology at

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

ONR Achieves Milestone In Free Electron Laser Program
Arlington VA (SPX) Jan 27, 2011
Scientists at Los Alamos National Lab in Los Alamos, N.M., have achieved a remarkable breakthrough with the Office of Naval Research's (ONR) Free Electron Laser (FEL) program, setting the stage for a preliminary design review. Researchers demonstrated an injector capable of producing the electrons needed to generate megawatt-class laser beams for the Navy's next-generation weapon system De ... read more

Boeing And Northrop Grumman Submit Proposal For Missile Defense Competitive Contract

LockMart-Raytheon Team Submits Proposal For GMD Contract

Aegis BMD System Completes Tracking Exercise

NATO Achieves First Step On TBMD Capability

Raytheon nabs $145 million deal in Kuwait

Kuwait Awards Contract To Raytheon For Patriot GEM-T Missiles

LockMart Receives Contract For Long Range Anti-Ship Missile Demonstrations

S. Korea, U.S in talks over missiles

AeroVironment Receives Order For Raven UAS Digital Module Upgrade Kits

New US drone spy cameras fail Air Force test: study

Three US drone strikes kill 13 in Pakistan

Gray Eagle UAS Program Expanding

Boeing Tests New Ka-band SATCOM Antenna System

Raytheon to supply radios to Aussie army

RAF Begin Training With US On Intelligence Aircraft

Joint STARS Successfully Supports JSuW JCTD

Boeing And iRobot Team Delivers First SUGVs To USAF

MEADS Radar Completes Rotation Tests

LockMart Receives Contract For High Mobility Artillery Rocket System

Israel 'needs F-35 to stay on top'

Brazil reassessing options on arms deal

U.S. may sell stealth fighters to India

India snubs Iran, Pakistan in defense show

Trial delayed for Iranian in Nigerian arms case

Clinton to join security talks in Germany

US says willing to assist India-China dialogue

US eyes more Asian defense talks

Obama faces tough diplomacy ahead of tour

'Air laser' could find bombs at a distance

ONR Achieves Milestone In Free Electron Laser Program

US Office Of Naval Research Achieves Milestone

Navy test fires electromagnetic cannon

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement