Chinese military scientists have announced a new laser weapon system that fires “indefinitely” without losing power or overheating.
Researchers at the National University of Defense Technology attributed the breakthrough to a new cooling system that vents gas through the weapon to dissipate heat and optimize the laser’s power for accurate firing.
The new cooling system would ultimately change the face of combat by allowing the use of lasers on drones and other smaller vehicles – something the US has tried and failed to do.
The US military has long been working on putting lasers on drones and missiles, but has yet to solve the cooling problem China claimed to solve.
Chinese military scientists claim to have developed a cooling system for lasers. The technology pumps gas into the system and removes excess heat, allowing the weapon to fire indefinitely (Stock)
“This is a huge breakthrough in improving the performance of high-energy laser systems,” said the team led by laser weapons scientist Yuan Shengfu. South China Morning Mail.
“High-quality beams can not only be produced in the first second, but also maintained indefinitely.”
Lasers work by stimulating emissions, according to Beijing times.
This involves excited atoms or molecules a crystal or gas gain medium to a higher energy state.
When the atoms or molecules fall back to the ground, they release pictures that are magnified optical feedback, resulting in a powerful laser beam.
The weapon’s mirrors and lenses keep the beam on a focused path through the air, ultimately heating the gas, disrupting the flow and scattering the beam.
Yuan’s team solved these problems by developing the internal beam path conditioner, which uses gas to eliminate waste heat and maintain a pristine gaseous environment within the weapon.
The US military has long been working on putting lasers on drones and missiles, but has yet to solve the cooling problem China claimed to solve. The US Navy (pictured) can only use massive systems on top of large ships
The new cooling system consists of several components, including a gas flow control system, an air source, a heat exchanger and an injection and suction system.
The air source first pumps dry air through the laser system and the heat exchanger cools the components to the desired temperature.
In addition to dissipating excess heat, the gas flow decreases turbulence and vibrations in the laser for more precision.
And it’s also designed to keep the weapon’s focus mirrors clean.
“Since the invention of the first ruby ??laser in 1960, people have been excited about moving from kinetic energy to laser energy for the rapid projection of energy at the speed of light, dreaming of laser beams becoming ‘death rays’ that can instantly kill targets,” they said. Yuan and his colleagues.
‘Unfortunately, 60 years have passed and different types of lasers have been developed, but the application of high-energy laser systems has not been successful.’
The US military has been the leader when it comes to breakthroughs in laser weapons, with some notable examples of high energy lasers including the Navy Advanced Chemical Laser (NACL), Middle Infrared Advanced Chemical Laser (MIRACL), Tactical High Energy Laser (TEL).
However, due to the huge and heavy weapons, they are only usable for large military vehicles such as boats and tanks.
This limits their reach and mobility, but Chinese research could change the way the country wages war and leave the US behind.