Information has been released about a start-up developing lab-grown diamonds which can be used to charge drones in-flight.
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne’s (EPFL) spin-off has developed the diamonds in an incubator at the LakeDiamond facility in Switzerland.
The diamonds mean a laser beam can remain strong over a long enough distance to recharge photovoltaic cells on the drones’ surface and poses no threat to human health due to the laser emitting a wavelength that cannot damage human skin or eyes.
The developers say the technology could also be used to transmit both power and data to satellites and has just been included in a support program of the Swiss Space Office.
LakeDiamond’s technology is built around diamonds that are grown in the company’s lab and subsequently etched at the atomic level.
The company went on to describe how the breakthrough lies not with this set-up, which already exists, but with the fact that the emitted beam is only a few dozen watts strong.
It revealed that its secret is using a small square lab-grown diamond as the optical component, as this delivers unparalleled performance.
LakeDiamond’s system holds the world record for continuous operation using a wavelength in the middle of the infrared range, delivering more than 30 watts in its base configuration which is the equivalent to around 10,000 laser pointers.