Potential NASA applications are in lidar systems for atmospheric remote sensing of chemical species with absorption characteristics around 1.4 microns. In particular, this region is ideal for CO2 sensing because it otherwise is a good atmospheric transmission window, and it is within the spectral region considered eye-safe. Additionally it can be used for water vapor sensing and free-space laser communications. Both CO2 and water vapor are important for climate studies and environmental science.
This laser can be frequency tripled to generate blue light that has good transparency in water. Therefore, it is of interest for underwater remote sensing and communications analogous to its atmospheric applications. Moreover, the short-pulse, high-energy configuration we are developing is necessary for long range and high sensitivity (high signal-to-noise ratio) in both underwater and atmospheric lidar. The 1.4-micron wavelength also has medical applications including treatment of skin conditions and removal of human body fat via laser-assisted lipolysis.