http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 16.31Change: -0.01
R/$ = 14.22Change: 0.03
Au 1292.99 $/ozChange: 1.84
Pt 1079.50 $/ozChange: 3.50
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters About Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Sep 17, 2013

CSIR unveils locally developed digital laser

Back
Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom
Photo: Duane Daws
Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom
CSIR National Laser Centre Mathematical Optics Research Group head Professor Andrew Forbes
Photo: Keith Campbell
CSIR National Laser Centre Mathematical Optics Research Group head Professor Andrew Forbes
previous next
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pretoria|Africa|Industrial|Mathematical Optics Research Group|Power|PROJECT|System|Systems|Technology|Africa|Laser Systems|Manufacturing|Photonics-based Communications|Product|Systems|Andrew Forbes|Derek Hanekom|Laser
|Africa|Industrial|Power|PROJECT|System|Systems|Technology|Africa|Manufacturing|Systems||
pretoria|africa-company|industrial|mathematical-optics-research-group|power|project|system|systems-company|technology|africa|laser-systems|manufacturing|photonics-based-communications|product|systems|andrew-forbes|derek-hanekom|laser



The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) announced in Pretoria on Tuesday that it had developed the world's first digital laser. "I am always very cautious about using the term 'breakthrough'," noted Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom. "We scrutinized this very carefully before we said that this is really new! South African scientists are once again making noteworthy contributions to the world."

The digital laser has been developed by the Mathematical Optics Research Group of the CSIR's National Laser Centre. The head of this group is Professor Andrew Forbes. "We have four main focus areas -- structured light, quantum entanglements, bio optics and novel laser systems," he reported. The digital laser is a product of the novel laser systems focus area.

The digital laser allows the production of a wide variety of light patterns, by means of holograms, in a much simpler and easier way than hitherto. This has huge potential benefits for a wide range of disciplines, including manufacturing, medicine and especially photonics-based communications. Yet is does so by making use of well-established technologies.

A normal laser contains two mirrors, opposed to each other and at opposite ends of the instrument. One is highly reflective and the other is a curved, partially reflective mirror. In the digital laser, the curved mirror is replaced by a liquid crystal display (LCD) system. The LCD is connected to a computer and monitor.

The system uses holograms, which are composed of many shades of grey, and the LCD is calibrated for these. Different shades of grey cause the LCD to change the orientation of its liquid crystals. The beam generated within the laser hits the LCD, and is simultaneously reflected and changed in shape by the differently orientated liquid crystals. Researchers use the computer to specify the laser beam shape they require and to programme it into the LCD. By this means, one laser can swiftly produce many different beam shapes. Previously, changing the shape of a laser beam required physically replacing the curved mirror in the laser. As the mirror has to be carefully aligned, this is a time consuming process.

"The dynamic control of laser modes could open up many future applications, from communications to medicine," affirmed Forbes. "Our device represents a new way of thinking about laser technology and we see it as a new platform on which future technologies may be built." The intellectual property belongs to the CSIR and is protected.

Meanwhile, although the CSIR unveiled the digital laser on Tuesday, the development of the system is by no means finished. Work is continuing in expanding the light and power envelopes of the system.

"At the moment, the device works in the infrared (IR); the light produced by the laser is IR," explained Forbes. "We can change the wavelength of the light using standard tools, and we want to make other wavelengths work in the digital laser."

The next objective is to use visible wavelength light in the laser, specifically green. "The next target after that is ultraviolet (UV) -- you have to go through green first, to get to UV."

Currently, the digital laser is a low-power device, and the research team wants to make it work at higher power levels. They also want to make it work faster, even though it already works much faster than its conventional counterparts can.

The mathematic optics group was able to make this breakthrough – creating the digital laser – because, unusually, it combines theory with practice in one small team. "All of our work involves controlling light, structuring light, which involves a lot of maths," explained Forbes. "We usually develop the maths first and then do experiments in the laboratory. What makes us unique is that we do both -- maths and experiments."

The experiments for the digital laser have been run by PhD candidate Sandile Ngcobo. Currently, he and Forbes form the digital laser team. There were two other members, one a PhD candidate and the other doing post-doctoral research, who are still members of the mathematical optics research group. They are Liesl Burger and Dr Igor Litvin.

"This is what is often termed a breakthrough -- and it is a real breakthrough," enthused South African Institute of Physics president Dr Igle Gledhill. "The digital laser opens up new visions of laser applications, and there are uses that we haven't even thought of yet. In that way, it's very much like the original invention of the laser over 50 years ago. Seeing world firsts come through from labs in South Africa is a joy shared across the scientific community, especially when young students are involved in this hands-on way."

The digital laser is an applied science project, which grew out of a CSIR fundamental science project that was concluded some three years ago. Fundamental science leads to applied science, but with a time lag. "Research is expensive," observed Forbes, "but what is more important is the time it takes."

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter

To subscribe email subscriptions@creamermedia.co.za or click here
To advertise email advertising@creamermedia.co.za or click here
 
Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other ICT News
DOROS HADJIZENONOS The 700-series devices provide network security monitoring, app control, URL filtering, VPN security, antivirus, antispam, antibot, and advanced intrusion prevention and detection functionality
Cybersecurity multinational Check Point has released its latest 700-series cybersecurity systems for small businesses, which draw on its international threat intelligence to provide up-to-date cybersecurity, says Check Point South Africa country manager Doros...
TREVOR COETZEE An integrated cybersecurity system allows for the automated remediation and correlation of low-risk security events
The increasingly open nature of corporate networks and the commensurate increase in cyberattack vectors require improved collaboration and threat intelligence sharing, as well as broad, automated security systems that can winkle out and neutralise smaller threats and...
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) for institutionalising cooperation in radio astronomy between South Africa and the other Square Kilometre Array (SKA) African partner countries was approved at the recent Third SKA African Partner Countries Ministerial Meeting,...
More
 
 
Latest News
Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa
Cabinet has extended the contract of Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) director-general Nosipho Ngcaba and approved the appointment of Limpho Makotoko as the new DEA COO.     “Under the leadership of Ngcaba, the DEA has consistently received clean and...
Mzwandile Masina
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has invited companies to participate in a trade and investment mission to Ghana and Nigeria from August 8 to 12.   Companies in the agriculture and agroprocessing sectors, built environment professionals, automotive and...
Cabinet has approved the Industrial Policy Action Plan (Ipap) 2016/17 to 2018/19, which seeks to achieve a higher-impact industrial policy in difficult economic circumstances, including the difficulties faced by the domestic steel industry and the drought which has...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Automotive 2016: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Automotive 2016 Report provides an overview of South Africa’s automotive industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into local demand and production, vehicle imports and exports, investment and competitiveness in the sector, as well...
Energy Roundup – April 2016 (PDF Report)
The April 2016 roundup covers activities across South Africa for March 2016 and includes details of a North Gauteng High Court Judge’s dismissal of a court application to postpone the 9.4% electricity tariff increase, which the National Energy Regulator of South...
Electricity 2016: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2016 report provides an overview of South Africa’s electricity sector, focusing on State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Energy Roundup – March 2016 (PDF Report)
The March 2016 roundup covers activities across South Africa for February 2016 and includes details of the Department of Energy’s plans to announce the preferred bidders for the first tranche of the coal independent power producer procurement programme; the Council...
Steel 2016: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2016 Report examines South Africa’s steel industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the global steel market and and particularly into South South Africa’s steel sector, including production and consumption, main...
Construction 2016: A review of South Africa's construction industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2016 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; key participants; local demand; geographic diversification; corporate activity; black economic...
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
The two spent-fuel pools at Eskom’s 1 800 MW Koeberg nuclear power station, in the Western Cape, will be full by 2018, increasing the urgency on the State-owned utility to begin pursuing alternative storage options. Koeberg has, over the past 32 years, accumulated a...
South Africa lacks the skills necessary to implement the government’s plan to build 9.6 GWe of new nuclear energy capacity, warns nuclear-qualified Quality Strategies International CEO David Crawford. “Apart from the concern about the affordability of the programme,...
DOROS HADJIZENONOS The 700-series devices provide network security monitoring, app control, URL filtering, VPN security, antivirus, antispam, antibot, and advanced intrusion prevention and detection functionality
Cybersecurity multinational Check Point has released its latest 700-series cybersecurity systems for small businesses, which draw on its international threat intelligence to provide up-to-date cybersecurity, says Check Point South Africa country manager Doros...
Daimler Trucks and Buses Southern Africa (DTBSA) saw a marked slip in new-vehicle sales in 2015 compared with 2014, with sales dropping from 5 897 units to 5 300 units. The decline came as the South African new truck and bus market declined from 31 558 units in 2014...
Group of 20 (G-20) economies threatened to penalise havens that don’t share information on their banking clients after the leak of the Panama Papers provoked a global uproar over tax evasion. The G-20 will consider “defensive measures” against financial centers and...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $149 Close
Subscribe Now for $149