Coherent, short-wavelength UV light is useful for a range of applications such as decontamination, precision manufacturing, real-time medical diagnostics, and chemical and biological identification using Raman spectroscopy. However, many applications are unable to transfer out of the lab because the
UV lasers needed to generate these coherent photons are prohibitively large, complicated and expensive.
The Laser UV Sources for Tactical, Efficient Raman (LUSTER) program addresses this critical need for a compact, high-power and efficient UV laser. The program will build on earlier successes in UV-generating materials and will explore novel concepts to develop a high beam-quality compact laser capable of achieving power greater than 1 watt, wall-plug efficiency greater than 10%, linewidth less than 0.01 nanometer (nm) and operating wavelengths between 220-240 nm.
The LUSTER technology is expected to be widely useful but is specifically targeted to enable deep UV Raman spectroscopy which is an important technique that enables a level of material discrimination that is superior to other optical measurement techniques. Using an UV laser source, Raman signals are orders of magnitude stronger than those generated in the infrared part of the spectrum. It is envisioned that the higher performance, coupled with smaller and more efficient lasers, will enable low-cost, mobile chemical and biological detection solutions.
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