pumped lasers years
later, with publications
in the Soviet Journal of
Quantum Electronics in
1983 and Laser Physics
Letters in 2006.
Dozens of U.S. patents have been granted
for pyrotechnic pumping since the early
1960s, although no
one knows how many
of these sources have
been built. In one of the ones that was
constructed, Claude R. Jones et al. used
exploding metal films to drive molecular
iodine at 342 nm and atomic iodine at
1.315 µm. They reported results in a
1983 issue of the Proceedings of SPIE.
In the IEEE Journal of Quantum
Electronics in 1981, W.F. Wing et al. of
Sanders Associates reported lasing of
Nd:YAG rods with a pump of zirconium
in oxygen. They achieved continuous-wave output for 2 s and average power of
5 W. Although they predicted that even
longer output times could be realized by
scaling up the system, I have found no
reports verifying this.
One use for such pyrotechnic lasers
is as a source for illumination and laser
radar, especially for systems used in
satellites. Northrop Grumman tested
such a device, although the type of laser
and pump were not specified in their
presentation about it at the 1986 IEEE
Aerospace Applications Conference.
Schwartz Electro-Optics tested one as
well, as they report in Proceedings of SPIE
in 1992—a Nd:Cr:GSGG composite rod
lasing at 1 and 3 µm, using zirconium
and oxygen as the pump.
A patent from 1983, titled “Low
Cost Laser” (no. 4,371,969), points out
another potential purpose for pyrotechnic lasers: Pyrotechnics could provide
a lightweight, compact mechanism for
powering a hand-held laser gun.
More recently, in Chinese Optics Let-
ters in 2008, Nan Xiao and co-workers
at the National University of Defense
Technology in China have used pyro-
technic mixtures of their own devising to
glass rods, produc-
ing an output of
Dozens of U.S. patents
have been granted for
since the early 1960s,
although no one
knows how many
of these sources
have been built.
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[ References and resources ]
>> W.E. Bushor. Electronics 35( 13), 24-5
>> C.L. Smith et al. Appl. Opt. 6( 6), 1130-1
>> A.A. Kaminskii et al. Soviet Physics JETP
24( 1), 33-9 (1967).
>> A.A. Kaminskii et al. Soviet Physics—
Technical Physics 14( 3), 396-402 (1969).
>> A.A. Kaminskii et al. Sov. J. Quantum
Electron. 13( 7), 975-6 (1983).
>> C.R. Jones et al. Proc. SPIE 380, 60
(1983) and U.S. Patent 4,599,731 (1986).
>> P. Pencikowski and P. Csik. IEEE Aerospace Applications Conference, Snowmass, Colo., U.S. A., Feb. 1966, 97-102
>> M. Acharekar and R. LeBeau. “Miniature
laser direct-detection radar,” Proc. SPIE
1633, 94-111 (1992).
>> A.A. Kaminskii et al. Laser Phys. Lett.
3( 3), 124-8 (2006).
>> N. Xiao et al. Chinese Optics Letters 6( 8),
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