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Optically Addressable Light Valves (OALV) are devices used to control the spatial shape of laser beams.  Its key elements are transparent conductors (TC), a photoconductor, and a liquid crystal.  LLNL filed for patent protection of OALVs built using wide/ultrawide bandgap semiconductors (WBG/UWBG) to increase the laser induced damage threshold of the device.  The invention enables OALVs to operate in both high fluence short pulse applications and continuous wave high power density operational environments.


LLNL researchers has developed designs to augment WBG/UWBG-based OALVs to improve their power handling capability under CW operational environments.  These designs include:

  1. High thermal conductivity photoconductor and optical window
  2. Hight thermal conductivity ring fin
  3. Axial fan(s)
  4. Radial fins
  5. Airflow slits to enhance air circulation
  6. Air wipe system with compressed air
  7. Liquid cooling heat exchanger over the ring fin. 
  • Value Proposition:  Improved performance in high power operations.
  • Thermal management
  • Active cooling for optics transmitting high intensity light
Potential Applications
  • Increased reliability -> improved performance
  • Damage mitigation for high value optics
  • Powder Bed Fusion Additive Manufacturing
  • Thermal management for other optical devices
Development Status

Current stage of technology development:  TRL 2

LLNL has filed for patent protection on this invention.

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