Jefferson Lab's FEL wins R&D100 Award

07/26/05

FEL picked as one of the top 100 most technologically significant products of 2005

Researchers and engineers at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) have been awarded an R&D 100 Award, R&D Magazine's picks for the 100 most technologically significant new products of 2005. This is Jefferson Lab's second R&D 100 award.

The 2005 award goes to:

  • The Tunable Energy Recovered High Power Infrared Free-Electron Laser, lead by a team of nine Jefferson Lab scientists and engineers. The Free-Electron Laser, or FEL, is an unparalleled laser in its capability as a light source that is opening up new applications in national security, materials science, photobiology, photochemistry and high sensitivity spectroscopy. These applications hold such exciting research potential that the Jefferson Lab FEL is being copied at a number of institutions.

"This award demonstrates that DOE scientists and researchers are hard at work developing the technologies of the future," said Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman. "In the past, breakthroughs like these have played an important role in both our economic and national security."

"We're looking for products and processes that can change people's lives for the better, improve the standard of living for large numbers of people, save lives, promote good health, and clean up the environment," say the editors of R&D Magazine, which has handed out R&D 100 Awards annually since 1963.

The FEL is principally funded by the Department of the Navy's Office of Naval Research. Rear Admiral Jay Cohen, Chief of Naval Research says, "ONR has a long history of teaming with remarkable scientists, engineers, and technicians. We are pleased to be able to provide funding to JLAB. We have every reason to expect that they will be dedicated to providing work that results in unique, high-power, tunable, 24 hour capability, that is well-suited for Department of the Navy, industrial and scientific applications."

The Jefferson Lab FEL, based on technology developed for the Department of Energy nuclear physics program, provides a scaleable path for high laser output power. Materials processing with lasers is now a $1B a year industry but is still limited in many applications by the availability of cost effective high power lasers. The development of the Jefferson Lab FEL technology substantially expands the capability of production lasers and enables new applications which were in the past not considered due to economic considerations.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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