AE Students Win Award at AIAA Conference

2011-10-06

ElectricOIL Cav6 system with a multi-pass X-resonator using four 50.8 mm optics.
ElectricOIL Cav6 system with a multi-pass X-resonator using four 50.8 mm optics.
AE students under Emeritus Prof. Wayne Solomon’s advisement have won a 2010 Best Student Paper Award for their work expanding the capabilities of the Electric Oxygen-Iodine Laser (ElectricOIL) device.

The award was presented at the 41stAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Plasmadynamics and Laser Conference held in Chicago over the summer.

The group, including graduate students Joseph W. Zimmerman, Gabriel F. Benavides, Brian S. Woodward and Michael T. Day, developed a sixth generation ElectricOIL device, capable of greater than 100 watts of laser power output. Authors also included Solomon; AE Visiting Prof. David L. Carroll; CU Aerospace Partner and Senior Physicist Andrew D. Palla; and CU Aerospace consultant Joseph T. Verdeyen, who is also professor emeritus of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Illinois.

Power output of the ElectricOIL devices between the initial demonstration in 2004 and 2010.
Power output of the ElectricOIL devices between the initial demonstration in 2004 and 2010.
 The high-power laser community has long desired a hybrid laser system combining advantages of electrically driven, solid-state lasers with the high beam quality gas lasers provide. The ElectricOIL has been considered a potential candidate for over 30 years. The AE group and Champaign, Illinois-based CU Aerospace researchers, working with colleagues from Emory University; Physical Sciences, Inc.; Iowa State University; and the Air Force Institute of Technology, were the first to demonstrate the technology in 2004.

The students’ recent paper covered various aspects of ElectricOIL system development, including radio-frequency discharge scaling for large singlet-delta oxygen flow rates; diagnostic development for excited atomic and molecular species measurements; thermal management; and laser resonator performance characteristics.