chemical laser


Definition of chemical laser

: a laser that uses a chemical reaction (such as combustion) as an energy source The weapon is the chemical laser, which gets its energy from the combustion of fuels similar to those in rocket engines. Though much of its energy is lost as heat, significant amounts can be extracted by mirrors and resonant chambers, emerging as a concentrated beam of light that in theory can flash across space to zap speeding missiles thousands of miles away.— William J. Broad

Examples of chemical laser in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Jack's area of expertise was inventing and developing chemical lasers., "John J. Hinchen," 8 Sep. 2019 In the 2000s, the Pentagon dumped billions into a 747 modified to fire a chemical laser. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "'Star Wars' Lite? We Explain Trump's Missile Defense Strategy," 17 Jan. 2019 The phenomena of short-pulse lasers are now far better understood, and the new solid-state lasers are cheaper, more reliable, and more robust than old chemical lasers. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The Secret History of Plasma Weapons," 14 Nov. 2018 Rather than a chemical laser, PASS used a solid-state, electrically powered laser. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The Secret History of Plasma Weapons," 14 Nov. 2018 In the past, the U.S. military has experimented with powerful, megawatt-class chemical lasers like the Air Force's cancelled Airborne Laser, which was mounted on a Boeing 747. Erik Schechter, Popular Mechanics, "The Navy Is Testing Its Seaborne Death Lasers," 18 Nov. 2014

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chemical laser.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of chemical laser

1965, in the meaning defined above

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Cite this Entry

“Chemical laser.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Aug. 2020.

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