Tags: europe | asia | dominate | laser technology

US Falls Behind in Laser Innovation

US Falls Behind in Laser Innovation
The inside of a so-called experimenting hut before the official inauguration ceremony of the XFEL international research facility in Schenefeld near Hamburg on Sept. 1, 2017. (Tobias Schwarz/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 06 December 2017 08:16 PM

The United States has lost its lead in the race to provide the next generation of high-intensity lasers, a new study concluded.

According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report, Europe and Asia have leaped ahead in a "second laser revolution" that will be used in medicine, nuclear weapons development, manufacturing, and science.

Eighty to 90 percent of new petawatt-class lasers, including all of the most powerful research devices, are found outside the United States even though the first high-intensity laser was developed in 1996 at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, The Washington Post reported.

"Although the United States led innovations in high-intensity lasers throughout the 20th century, leadership is rapidly moving to Europe, and in some cases, to Asia as well," the report concluded, per the Post. "The U.S. has lost its previous dominance."

According to the Post, the new report also criticizes America's research for "inadequate" coordination between industry and government scientists.

The report noted early U.S. scientific papers that identified the potential of high-intensity lasers were taken more seriously in Europe and Asia than at home, where a decade of flat federal research investment and waning corporate investment hampered progress, the Post reported.

"Significant rapid coordinated strategic investments were subsequently made in Europe, Japan, and later in China and elsewhere, but not here," the report says, per the Post.

The study's writers called for the Energy Department, which helped sponsor their work, to develop a plan to better coordinate a fragmented U.S. laser effort. To catch up to European and Asian programs, the United States needs a national strategy to unite universities, corporations, and government agencies in a broad network, the report said.

Meanwhile, a separate report released Wednesday from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation also called for the federal government to develop an assertive strategy to prevent the United States from losing its competitive edge, the Post reported.

Losing the competitiveness race means fewer jobs and slower growth. ITIF president Rob Atkinson said, the Post reported.

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The United States has lost its lead in the race to provide the next generation of high-intensity lasers, a new study concluded.
europe, asia, dominate, laser technology
Wednesday, 06 December 2017 08:16 PM
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