High Energy Laser and Advanced Development Laboratory

Faculty Researchers Location Phone Website

Dr. David L. Carroll

Prof. Emeritus Wayne C. Solomon

Hydrogen Liquifier Building (Bldg. 204) 217-333-8480  
Directed by Dr. David L. Carroll.  The lab is being used for the research and development (R&D) of several laser systems, as well as plasma-driven technologies and in-space propulsion (electric and monopropellant) systems. R&D efforts in this versatile and well-outfitted laboratory facility include: electric oxygen-iodine lasers (ElectricOIL), chemical oxygen-iodine lasers (COIL), plasma flow actuators, plasma-driven in-space (micro-discharge and pulsed plasma) thrusters for small spacecraft, electrically-driven resistojet and monopropellant thrusters, and plasma disinfection chambers.  These laboratory and numerical experiments are providing the leading research for these innovative new technologies.  Fundamental measurements are being used to further our knowledge of the behavior of such new systems.

Facility and Equipment Description

Vacuum systems capable of 10,000 cfm sub-Torr operation, laser power meters up to 5 kW, wide range of mass flow meters with measurement capability down to 0.01 g/s and up to 25 g/s, 25 kW of power supplies, multiple vacuum chambers up to 0.25 m3, broad range of pressure, temperature, and optical (spectral emission and absorption) diagnostics.  Additionally, the lab facility has gas safety cabinets for up to 6 T-size bottles, a 150-gallon liquid nitrogen tank, a small machine shop, and high-end desktop computing systems for design and numerical modeling (with access to workstation clusters on campus for high performance computing). 

Research Highlights

J.W. Zimmerman, A.D., Palla, D.L. Carroll, G.K. Hristov, and P.J. Ansell, “Plasma Actuator with Arc Breakdown in a Magnetic Field for Active Flow Control Applications,” AIAA Paper 2017-3477 (2017).

cyclotronic actuator            

Cyclotronic plasma actuator for active flow control.  The cyclotronic plasma actuator serves as a controllable vortex generator that can be enabled or disabled on demand in boundary layer flows when the coaxial arrangement is embedded in an aerodynamic surface, thereby alleviating turbulent flow separation (e.g., during takeoff and landing). It also does not produce parasitic drag during high-speed cruise. Compared to traditional dielectric barrier discharge actuators, the cyclotronic plasma actuator may add more energy into the plasma, improving actuator authority and effectiveness.


B.S. Woodard, M.T. Day, J.W. Zimmerman, G.F. Benavides, A.D. Palla, D.L. Carroll, J.T. Verdeyen, and W.C. Solomon, “The influence of radio-frequency discharge geometry on O2(a1D) production,” J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys., Vol. 44, 115102 (2011).  

Electric Oxygen-Iodine Laser

6-tube discharge configuration driving plasma production of singlet-delta O2 in an Electric Oxygen-Iodine Laser (ElectricOIL).  Continuous-wave laser power of > 100 W was measured using this discharge configuration.


D.L. Carroll, J.T. Verdeyen, D.M. King, J. Zimmerman, J. Laystrom, B. Woodard, G. Benavides, N. Richardson, K. Kittell, and W.C. Solomon, "Studies of CW laser oscillation on the 1315 nm transition of atomic iodine pumped by O2(1D) produced in an electric discharge," IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics, Vol. 41, No. 10, Oct. 2005, pp. 1309-1318.

EOIL First Demonstrator

Hardware used for first-ever demonstration of the Electric Oxygen-Iodine Laser (ElectricOIL) system.


Electric Oxygen-Iodine Laser

Basic schematic of early development Electric Oxygen-Iodine Laser (ElectricOIL) using a plasma discharge for the production of singlet-delta oxygen O2(a1D) prior to injection of the lasing iodine species.  ElectricOIL is an “energy transfer laser” where the energy stored in excited O2(a1D) is transferred to iodine for both dissociation of molecular I2 and pumping to the 1315 nm line of atomic iodine.  In ElectricOIL, most of the I2 dissociation is done by O-atoms that are also produced in the plasma discharge.