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Proceedings Paper

High-average-power free-electron lasers: a new laser source for materials processing
Author(s): Michelle D. Shinn
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Paper Abstract

Material processing with lasers has grown greatly in the previous decade, with annual sales in excess of $1 B (US). In general, the processing consists of material removal steps such as drilling, cutting, as well as joining. Here lasers that are either cw or pulsed with pulsewidths in the microsecond(s) time regime have done well. Some applications, such as the surface processing of polymers to improve look and feel, or treating metals to improve corrosion resistance, require the economical production of laser powers of the tens of kilowatts, and therefore are not yet commercial processes. The development of FELs based on superconducting RF (SRF) linac technology provides a scaleable path to laser outputs above 50 kW, rendering these applications economically viable, since the cost/photon drops as the output power increases. Such FELs will provide quasi-cw (PRFs in the tens of MHz), of ultrafast (pulsewidth approximately 1 ps) output with very high beam quality. The first example of such an FEL is the IR Demo FEL at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab), which produces nearly 2 kW of high average power on a routine basis. Housed in a multilaboratory user facility, we as well as members of our user community have started materials process studies in the areas mentioned earlier. I will present some of the first results of these studies. I will also briefly discuss the status of our DOD-funded project to upgrade the FEL to 10 kW in the mid IR.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 August 2000
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 4065, High-Power Laser Ablation III, (16 August 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.407366
Show Author Affiliations
Michelle D. Shinn, Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4065:
High-Power Laser Ablation III
Claude R. Phipps, Editor(s)

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