Laser laboratory with open beam path

The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) operates a laser with an open beam path at its DLR Institute of Technical Physics in Lampoldshausen. Researchers at this large-scale facility conduct measurements and experiments with lasers and optical technology under controlled, real-world atmospheric conditions.

Detecting dangers from a safe distance

With an open beam range of 130 metres, this facility is equipped with supply and measuring technology for a wide range of applications. A sophisticated underlying concept allows the operation of various laser systems and measurement processes, as well as complex receiving systems. Cutting-edge video and control technology supplement structural security measures, particularly for high-energy lasers, and allow for the provision of extensive experimental information.

Diverse applications

High-precision control systems for beam guidance over large distances and high-sensitivity optical detection systems for use in real environmental conditions enable technological developments in atmospheric and security research.

  • Detection of chemical, biological and explosive hazardous substances from a safe distance:

    The capability of a laser system also has to be proven outside the laboratory in conditions similar to those expected during their application outdoors – i.e. in strong winds or bad weather – to ensure that the relevant substances can be detected against a natural background, for example of spores and pollen.

  • High-energy laser applications:

    The integrated multi-kilowatt laser is used for studies of laser safety in open spaces, beam propagation through the atmosphere and the development of high-precision, laser optical tracking technology – such as that used for the detection of space debris.

  • Data recorded 24/7 – such as weather, solar radiation, rainfall and aerosol distribution – can be combined with the information acquired by weather balloons for investigations relating to atmospheric layers at or close to ground level.

In addition to in-house DLR studies of laser beam propagation and remote detection, the open beam path can also be made available to external clients from industry and research and adapted to their requirements for measuring campaigns under controlled conditions. This includes the investigation of passive optical technology and the physics of atmospheric layers close to ground level.


Volker Speelmann

Head of Research Infrastructures
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Executive Board department for Innovation, Transfer and Research Infrastructure
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne

Frank Duschek

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Technical Physics
Atmospheric Propagation and Effect
Langer Grund, 74239 Lampoldshausen-Hardthausen