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Laser protection - always on guard

-It is difficult to protect oneself against lasers because of the different frequencies that can be used. But in a fantastic piece of collaboration with FOI we have developed a unique protection against laser pulses regardless of their frequency. The protection, which has many areas of application, has attracted worldwide attention, says Hans Norinder, Technical expert at FMV, the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration


Laser protection is needed

-Today lasers are used everywhere. They have uses in research, in medicine and cosmetics, in industry and in many other areas. More or less deliberate attacks using lasers are also becoming increasingly commonplace. Laser attacks against aircraft have also increased dramatically in Sweden over the last few years.”


“We have followed this development closely for almost ten years. It originated in the United States and has since spread to the rest of the world. It is very difficult to catch the culprits since the laser works silently and it is usually not possible to see the effect until the instant when one is directly illuminated.”


Doped glass

-We are working on protection against lasers for defence purposes but the results can be very useful to society at large. For the Swedish Armed Forces we are working on an advanced form of laser protection that we call self-activating. This involves a glass material that we have doped with various substances and which has the property of reacting to laser light. This material is activated by the laser beam. This form of protection allows a high degree of light transmission under normal conditions, but as soon as the laser beam strikes the material, the transmissivity is reduced. This enables an optical sensor to be protected against damage.”


“We have come a very long way in this field and our results lead the world. This laser protection filter can protect against damage but not against dazzle. Where dazzle is concerned we are researching in the area of advanced dynamic protection. This is a type of protection which can, by means of a laser warning device, be switched on and off automatically when illuminated by a laser beam, and which can be adapted to the threat.”


Visible wavelengths not blocked

- For pilots and others who depend on direct sight and instruments, it is no use filtering out too much of the visible spectrum because of dependence on the various instrument panels. In some cases, therefore, screening may be better than glasses. In a future project we shall be working on screens and visors for protection against laser dazzle.”