280-300 nm spectral region is part of ozone absorption spectrum, and lasers operating in this region might be used for lidar measurements. For example, the pulsed UV laser system is used by NASA for the Langley mobile ozone lidar (LMOL) operates in precisely that region. This system output is a train of alternating pulses at two distinct wavelengths from 285-300 nm spectral range. The laser active medium is a Ce:LiCAF crystal pumped by a quadrupled radiation from a Q-switched Nd:YLF laser. Such a laser scheme is bulky and has low efficiency: with 0.2 W of UV output power the system consumes 2 kW, so overall wall-plug efficiency is 0.01%. TIPD proposes to develop a simple, compact, robust, and efficient laser source based on GaN diodes and Tb-doped gain materials to satisfy NASA’s requirements. In this phase I program, we will demonstrate the feasibility of our proposed laser source by developing a novel efficient Tb-doped oscillator.
Space exploration applications include follow on applications to NASA’s Lidar Atmosphere Sensing Experiment (LASE) program, ablation and spectroscopic tools for the New Frontiers mission to the Jovian moons, and enhanced capabilities for the SHERLOC instrument package. The UV-B laser could be used in the search of life in the extra-terrestrial by detecting organic/inorganic molecules.
Commercial applications including advanced R&D and industrial manufacturing such as in the microfabrication of transparent materials such as GaN wafers, massless lithography for circuit boards and electronics. UV-B light offers improved sensitivity over visible lasers atomic and molecular spectroscopy and chemical dynamics.