Feb 15, 2018

In the January issue of Laser Focus World, the leadership and technology team at Vancouver-based nLight weighed in on the falling prices of lasers, a precipitous decline that has taken place over the past 20 years. As part of the article they included a graph illustrating dollars per bright watt ($/W/cm^2-str) that has decreased from 100,000 $/W/cm^2-str in the mid-1990s to around 50 $/W/cm^2-str today. That is a reduction of 2,000x!

This is so significant that we had to include the same graphic here : (Graphic from nLight as published in Laser Focus World):

This decrease is similar to Moore’s law for computer chips, in that an important metric (in lasers, cost per watt; in computers, number of transistors per chip) falls on an exponential curve. One important difference is that Moore’s law describes the increase in the number of devices per area, whereas the drop in laser pricing is primarily due to increasing the power emitted by roughly the same number of devices.

This is an incredible achievement that is enabling new and useful applications (such as power delivery via laser).

Indeed, PowerLight Technologies was founded based partly on the falling price of lasers. The concept for power beaming via laser existed decades ago, but the cost was impractically high due to the cost of lasers. The lower prices of recent years (along with other improvements in lasers) has made it practical and affordable to deliver power remotely using lasers.

That’s why we are so excited to bring our solution to commercial markets. Innovations we have developed in beam shaping, laser safety, and photovoltaic optimization are truly groundbreaking. At launch our patented Power Over Fiber solution delivers power over a beam of light through standard fiber optic cables.

Having proven to transfer hundreds of watts over 1 kilometer (as many of you may know), PowerLight is the first company to bring high-power optical power beaming technology to commercial markets at these power and distance levels, representing a 10X leap to anything previously available. We’re excited for our customers to experience these new capabilities!