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Device turns sunlight into laser light

Spice cadets
Tue Sep 04 2007, 12:07
BOFFINS AT Osaka University have joined forces with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency - or JAXA - to cook up a device which converts sunlight into laser light.

The new device manages to convert the sunlight with an efficiency four times greater than previous attempts, reports Nikkei. Sunlight is collected and kept as energy in a plate made of a sintered powder of metals such as chromium and neodymium, said Nikkei.

If weak laser light hits the plate, the energy already kepts in the plate is transferred across to the laser light and boosts its strength - using a 0.5-watt laser device, the power was able to be amplified to 180 watts.

Previous attempts to convert solar energy to laser light energy have only managed to yield about a 10 per cent transfer rate, whereas the new technology managed to convert 40 per cent of solar energy. The technology will provide a boost to the design of space solar power systems which will one day collect sunlight in space and convert it to laser energy, then to electricity for our use down here on the planet. µ


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