Hughes Research Labs
Founded in 1976 by a group of researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, Hughes Research Labs (HRL) is a world leader in ion propulsion research, working with partners around the world on cutting-edge technologies. The labs are home to some of the most important and influential scientists in the world, and they are working hard to develop next-generation technologies.
Founders of the early laser
During the 50 years since the first working laser was operational at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, California, the technological development of optics science has contributed phenomenal advances to medicine, manufacturing, communications and defense. One of the most important aspects of optics science is the stimulated emission, a process by which energy is turned into light.
Theoretically, stimulated emission had been known for many years, but it wasn’t until 1957 that physicists discovered that it could be applied to a device. In 1957, Gordon Gould, an American physicist, invented the term “laser” to describe a device that produced a beam of light.
The first working laser was reported in 1960. The idea was to create a laser using a flash lamp to excite chromium atoms in a crystal of synthetic ruby. The ruby was optically pumped by a flash lamp to create red laser light at a wavelength of 694 nanometers.
Although the first working laser was the most important scientific development of the twentieth century, it wasn’t the first. In fact, a number of institutions had been trying to build a laser for years.
Ion propulsion research
During the late 1950s, Hughes Research Labs began researching ion propulsion devices. These devices are used to propel spacecraft in space. The thrust generated by an ion thruster is low, but it can be used to propel deep space probes. Ion engines also have applications for orbital maneuvering, cargo transport between depots, attitude adjustments, and orbit transfers.
Ion propulsion research at Hughes Research Labs continued until more than thirty years later. In 1961, Hughes demonstrated its ion engine. The engine was designed to produce a thrust of 0.01 lb., and a follow-up engine was designed to produce 0.1 lb. The engine was eventually launched on a satellite in 1997.
Xenon ion propulsion systems are now used for primary stationkeeping on Hughes/Boeing 601HP satellites. These satellites are part of a constellation called Starlink.
The primary goal of the ion thruster is to generate a high specific impulse. This is achieved by ionizing a large cluster of metals and then accelerating them electrostatically.
Lasers reach kilowatt powers at the cost of enormous sizes
Optical science has brought phenomenal advances to medicine, communications, manufacturing, and defense. The basic principles of lasers apply to the entire electromagnetic spectrum. However, there is one major difference between lasers and other forms of light: lasers deliver well-controlled photons. In addition, lasers are more powerful and compact. These advantages make them a good choice for military applications.
Lasers produce light pulses with peak powers that are greater than those produced by continuous wave mode. In addition, pulses can be produced in the infrared and ultraviolet regions of the spectrum. Some lasers have trillions of watts of power output in short pulses.
A hand-held laser can pinpoint enemy missiles and small boats. Laser beams are also used to burn a blind spot on the retina of an eye. In addition, laser beams can also be used for welding.
Lasers are most commonly used to produce visible light. However, they are also available to produce infrared, ultraviolet, and non-reflective x-ray light.
Current and past collaborators
Currently and in the past, Hughes Research Laboratories has worked closely with Raytheon. The labs have conducted research on advanced microelectronics and photonics, as well as materials and antennas. The labs also focus on quantum information science, information systems, and high-performance integrated circuits. The labs have received funding from their LLC partners and the United States government. They were legally renamed HRL Laboratories, LLC on December 17, 1997. This company received its first patent on September 12, 2000. Its research is focused on high-power lasers, sensors, antennas, and information systems.
The labs have also worked on xenon ion propulsion systems, which are standard options for the Hughes/Boeing 702 and 601HP satellite families, as well as the Galaxy-XI and Galaxy-XII satellite families. The labs also work on a chip called SyNAPSE, which is a neuromorphic chip. This chip is a standard option for Deep Space 1 and Galaxy-XI satellites. It is also used on the Hughes/Boeing 702 satellite family as primary stationkeeping. The chip alters the synapses, making it the first chip ever to do so.