Originally Posted By KlubMarcus:
Yep, just imagine the amount of energy in a gallon of gas. This is a different reaction to generate a heating/cutting beam! Hey, maybe the byproducts of the reaction will restore the ozone layer as an added bonus.
Originally Posted By gaspain: chemical laser eh...hmmm. Sounds neet.
COIL lasers are cool stuff indeed, check it out:
Laze and Blaze
At the heart of the ABL is the megawatt-class Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser. When reviewing potential laser systems to be used on the ABL, the COIL was selected specifically because of the numerous advantages offered by the beam's wavelength. At 1.315mm, the beam is relatively unaffected by atmospheric conditions, and is relatively small when compared with other high-powered lasers, which makes it easer to focus on distant targets. In addition, very little of the beam's energy is absorbed by fused silica (the medium through which the beam is projected through the modules), while metals readily absorb it. This means that not only will little of the beam's energy be lost as it is projected through the long axis of the ABL aircraft (which will also have the benefit or reducing thermo-optical beam degradation), but much of it will be readily absorbed by the metal skinned rockets the laser is being shot at.
Since the ABL, as the name implies, is an airborne system, a non-conventional (and non-nuclear) power supply was needed. Rather than rely on batteries, capacitors, electric generators or really long extension cords, the COIL is powered by liquid chemicals and ionized gas. First tested at the Kirtland AFB Phillips Lab in 1977, the COIL, now being built by Northrop Grumman Space Technologies, uses atomized liquid hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and potassium hydroxide (KOH) -- - essentially beauty salon highlighter and Liquid Plumber -- - and chlorine gas (CL2) to form an energized (ionized) form of oxygen known as singlet delta oxygen (O2(1D).) SDO, in turn is mixed with molecular iodine gas (I2) to form ionized iodine gas. As the ionized iodine gas returns to its resting state it releases a photon pulsing at 1.315mm. As the photons are released, they are collected and amplified by a pair of parallel laser cavity mirrors and finally discharged as a pulse of coherent light. When finally installed, the COIL will consist of six individual lasing modules (each weighing 4,500 pounds, and as big as a panel van) linked in series (so that the beam from one module can be amplified further as it passes through subsequent modules.)
To properly mix the chemicals to produce enough photons to be effective, the SDO and iodine mixture is injected into the lasing cavity at a near supersonic speed (the turbine-like pump that performs this task is small enough to fit on an office desk and can fill a typical backyard pool in less than 10 minutes.) To reduce weight and chemical waste, unused H2O2 is recycled until exhausted. The byproducts from this beam generation process are harmless heat, potassium salt, water, and oxygen.
The Big Eye
There's no argument that the COIL can do its job -- - in December of 2003, a ground test utilizing a single COIL module generated 118% of anticipated power -- - but generating a megawatt rated pulse of light is meaningless if it isn't pointed in the right direction. That's where the ABL's 7-ton nose mounted mirror turret comes into play. In effect a large (1.5m) two-axis telescope, equipped with a 58.8 inch gold plated primary mirror and a 12.2 inch secondary mirror, the turret has a 120-degree field of view and is protected from the elements by a 1.8m, 330 pound Nose Cone Conformal Window. The NCCW is the largest optical quality domed conformal window ever manufactured and is made from unique materials intended to be "transparent" to the outgoing laser (to reduce the effects of optical distortion).
Courtesy of www.military.com/soldiertech/0,14632,Soldiertech_ABL,,00.html