Laser glass

The glass laser is a special form of laser (acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) that produces laser light using a specially doped glass.

As opposed to gas or solid-state lasers (which are commonplace in laser shows, medical technology or metal working), glass lasers are used in particular for research, such as in the major research institution in California, the National Ignition Facility (NIF), which opened in 2009. The first experiments at the facility are planned for 2010, where almost 200 high-power lasers will be focused on a two-millimetre fuel capsule in order to spark a short nuclear fusion reaction under extreme temperatures. This will make it possible to conduct a variety of groundbreaking experiments.

All of the lasers used at the NIF were manufactured using phosphates from Budenheim.

Alongside high-tech applications such as this, laser glass is also used, for example, as a coupler and amplifier between glass-fibre cables in modern telecommunication lines.

Special raw materials

Laser rays are extremely focused light with very high energy.

Laser ion electrons (such as neodymium in the phosphate-glass laser used at the NIF) that have been excited by an external energy source, for example from flash lamps, spontaneously and within a short period of time normally emit photons with a certain energy and therefore wavelength, due to a fallback to their normal energy levels. Added phosphates in the laser glass enable a massive extension of the time period where atoms and electrons can be found in this excited condition, thereby allowing stimulated emissions: the laser effect.

Phosphates from Budenheim are used in the production of laser glass because of their high levels of purity.