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Question about lasers

  1. Mar 24, 2012 #1

    Not sure if this is the correct section to post my question, so if not apologies in advance. I'm wondering if there are lasers (need not be for consumer or general manufacturing purposes) that have the capacity to cut up to ten feet depth into dense materials like rock and perhaps some steels? All I have been able to find are engraving level lasers. I do know there is currently a research program studying the potential for using lasers for oil and gas drilling, but I have not been able to find any information on the lasers or where they are in terms of their research.

    Any help is appreciated,
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 24, 2012 #2
    Too bad Edward Teller died some years ago.
    His answer would've certainly been:" Yes!!!! Give me 100 billion dollars and I´ll make it!!!!
    Jokes aside, cutting ten feet posses many technical problems. The Rayleigh length is the zone where the laser beam has the highest intensity. Unfortunately, a Rayleigh length ten feet long demands a large beam diameter unless you have an X-ray laser (bring Teller back!!). In order to achieve high intensity, this large beam diameter calls for a very large laser power.
    Some chemical lasers, designed to destroy missiles, had output power in the mega watt range. I wonder whether this is high enough to cut through ten feet of steel.
  4. Mar 24, 2012 #3
    Thanks Gordianus,

    Unfortunately, for what I have in mind a large diameter would not work. Also, relative to what you mean by 'large' power, that would potentially from a pragmatic standpoint undermine my fantasy tool. Thanks for your reply and the bit of info regarding the Rayleigh length.
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