September 13, 2007

Key part of space based solar: 40% efficient method for converting sunlight to laser

The project works by storing sunlight-based energy in plate made from a sintered powder of metals like chromium and neodymium.
When weak laser light is shined onto the plate, the stored energy is transferred to the laser where its strength is amplified by a factor of four. In one test, a 0.5-watt laser was amplified to 180-watts by the plates. Scientists have thus far been able to garner 42-percent of the solar energy produced, and they hope to have a system ready for satellite mounting by the not-too-distant year 2030.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Osaka University’s Institute of Laser Engineering unveiled a new method for converting sunlight into laser beams—a superconducting metallic plate that amplifies light 30 percent more efficiently than previously possible, then shoots back the intensified energy to power stations on Earth.


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