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This year is the 60th anniversary of the invention of laser. Since the advent of laser technology, our lives and production have brought tremendous changes. In order to promote the application and popularization of laser technology, the Chinese Academy of Engineering launched the key consulting project of "my country's Laser Technology and Application 2035 Development Strategy Research" in 2018. This article is a comprehensive report of the project. The article briefly analyzes laser technology and its instrumental, leading and disruptive roles in scientific research and industry, and puts forward the 2035 development goals and policy suggestions for my country's laser technology and applications.

I. Introduction

Lasers are the four major technological inventions of the 20th century that are as famous as atomic energy, semiconductors and computers. Lasers have the characteristics of high brightness, strong directivity, good monochromaticity, and good coherence. They are called "the fastest knife" and "the most "Accurate ruler", "the brightest light". The development and fusion of laser and related technologies have formed cross-technical disciplines such as laser manufacturing, laser communication, laser detection, and laser medical treatment, providing a large number of new tools for mankind to understand and transform the world, and nurtured and developed many types of lasers. Industries and series of equipment have changed and reconstructed many fields such as high-end manufacturing, information communication, medical diagnosis and treatment, and national defense and security. With the continuous emergence of new lasers and new applications of lasers, the role of laser technology will become more prominent, and it will play an important role in building an innovative country and enhancing the competitiveness of international industries.

The Chinese Academy of Engineering organized and carried out the key consulting research project of "my country's Laser Technology and Application 2035 Development Strategy". The focus is on my country’s development goals, key research priorities and industrial policy needs before 2035.


Laser Technology


"Light is an indispensable element of our society’s daily life. Science’s understanding and application of light as a natural phenomenon benefit all mankind. Light is the first thing. It is because of light that the world can appear before our eyes. It is very important, and the care for light is deeply embedded in all civilizations."
——Excerpt from the speech of the Director-General of UNESCO, Azoulay, on the 2020 International Day of Light! !
God said that there must be light, so there is light! ("Bible" Old Testament·Genesis)
Mayman said, I have a laser!
God said, please give it to mankind!
Mayman said, of course!
Humans say thank you!
Note: As natural science workers, we should not speak of God, but critical thinking about God is possible. As a member of mankind, I feel more and more that, in fact, what we call God is a synonym for human beings as a whole, which means that we replace God with humans. The above dialogue is still valid, or that God is human beings The spokesperson of the endorsement.

2. The role and status of laser technology and applications


(1) Cutting-edge laser technology is an important tool for basic physics research and cutting-edge science and technology in many fields
Research cutting-edge laser technology to obtain higher frequency domain characteristics (ultrashort wave, ultra long wave, tunable, single frequency, broad spectrum, etc.), time domain characteristics (ultrafast, super peak, etc.) and energy domain characteristics (high brightness, large Power, high energy, etc.), has always been an important part of the world's cutting-edge scientific research.
High-performance lasers can create extreme conditions in the laboratory, making high-performance cutting-edge lasers an important tool for basic physics research.
The frequency domain characteristics, time domain characteristics, and energy domain characteristic conditions or parameters created by high-performance lasers make lasers an indispensable tool for cutting-edge research on new materials, energy, and biology.
Throughout the 100-year history of the Nobel Prize, there are more than 40 award-winning achievements directly or indirectly related to optics, accounting for about 40% of the Nobel Prize in Physics. Among them, after 1960, almost all Nobel Prizes related to optics are more or less related to lasers. Here are some of the more famous ones.

Nobel Prize in Physics in 1964 The first Nobel Prize won by laser
Winners: Charles Towns (USA), Nikolai Gennadyevich Basov (Former Soviet Union), Alexander Prokhorov (Former Soviet Union)
Reason for the award: Basic research results in the field of quantum electronics, which developed oscillators and amplifiers based on the principle of excimer-laser
Based on the results of this research, scientists manufactured the predecessor of lasers-masers in 1954. Thereafter, based on the open cavity configuration of the microwave device, scientists developed a laser in 1960.
1971 Nobel Prize in Physics for the construction of three-dimensional realistic three-dimensional images
Winner: Gabor Dennis (UK)
Reason for award: invention and development of holographic method
Due to the advent of lasers, the coherence and brightness of the light source have been significantly improved, and holographic technology has developed rapidly. The principle of holographic technology is to use the interference and diffraction of light to store the object information in the form of interferograms, and restore the three-dimensional realistic three-dimensional image of the original object through image inversion. This technology is widely used in science fiction movies, such as the holographic sand table display in "Avatar" and the hanging projection in "Iron Man". Today, the rapid development of computer technology has given birth to holographic projection technology. For example, Microsoft developed Hololens in 2015 based on computational holography technology, which can generate virtual 3D images that only the wearer can see.
1981 Nobel Prize in Physics: Laser spectrometer for sensitive detection
Winners: Nicholas Blombergen (United States), Arthur Showlow (United States)
Reason for award: Contribution to the development of laser spectrometer
After the advent of lasers, the study of nonlinear media and laser spectroscopy became a hot spot. Blombergen invented technologies and devices based on the principle of nonlinear optics such as optical frequency doubling, pulse compression and broadening, electro-optical modulation, etc., in the field of high-power lasers, laser communications All fields are indispensable.
Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997 Frozen atoms capture the "fifth state"
Winners: Zhu Diwen (United States), Claude Cohen-Donald Day (France), William Phillips (United States)
Reason for award: Developed a method of cooling and trapping atoms with laser
Laser cooling technology uses laser photons to collide with moving atoms to slow down the atoms and obtain ultra-low temperature atoms. Using this technology, scientists have observed for the first time the fifth state of matter-Bose-Einstein condensate.
Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1999 Femtosecond photography of molecular changes
Winner: Ahmed Xavier (Egypt, USA)
Reason for award: The use of laser technology makes it possible to observe the movement of atoms in molecules through chemical reactions
Xavier is known as the "father of femtosecond chemistry". He uses femtosecond laser technology to observe chemical reactions. This is the first time that the Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to the laser field. Due to the emergence of femtosecond ultrashort pulse lasers, the time scale of observable chemical reactions has been reduced to the femtosecond level. Xavier used this technique to measure the overreaction lifetime of the cyclobutane cracking experiment to be 700 femtoseconds, and for the first time observed the transition state of the chemical reaction in the photolysis reaction of NaI.
2009 Nobel Prize in Physics Optical fiber brings epoch-making changes in communications
Winner: Gao Kun (UK, USA)
Reason for the award: In the field of optical communication, the breakthrough achievement of light in fiber transmission
Based on Gao Kun's theory and lasers, since the 1970s, Corning has developed optical fibers that can be used for communication, which has become the mainstream high-speed, large-capacity wired communication method.
2018 Nobel Prize in Physics "Thousand-fold magnification" and "Laser Tweezers"
Winners: Arthur Ashkin (USA), Jeha Moreau (France), Donna Strickland (Canada)
Reasons for the award: A breakthrough invention in the field of laser physics: "Optical tweezers and their applications in biological systems" "Methods for generating high-intensity ultra-short optical pulses"
(2) Laser technology plays an indispensable role in shaping modern manufacturing, information, medical and national defense industries
Laser manufacturing applications are the main directions of laser industry applications, including five categories: removal and connection, surface engineering, additive manufacturing, repair and remanufacturing, and micro-nano manufacturing. The output value scale accounts for more than 30% of the laser application industry. Laser manufacturing has outstanding advantages such as easy operation, non-contact, high flexibility, high efficiency, high quality, energy saving and environmental protection. It is the mainstream means of cutting, welding, surface treatment, high-performance complex component manufacturing and precision manufacturing. It is known as "universal processing" "Tools" and "the common processing methods of future manufacturing systems" have led the development of advanced manufacturing and have a profound impact on the process of industrial intelligence. According to the 2010 analysis and statistics of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the United States accounted for 50% of the GDP that year, with an output value of approximately US$7.50 trillion. This is the data of the United States in 2010, and now it is 2020, which shows that the space for laser application and development is extremely broad.
Take laser remanufacturing as an example. According to incomplete statistics, there are currently about 40-50 civilian enterprises engaged in laser remanufacturing in my country. The large ones are only several hundred million yuan, while the small ones are below ten million yuan. In the whole year, the output value of laser remanufacturing in my country exceeded 2.5 billion yuan, and the value of core products in various industries was tens of billions, which reduced the loss of many important industries for my country. But this number is very disproportionate to my country's status as the world's largest manufacturing plant. As the world's largest remanufacturing industry country, the United States has a remanufacturing scale of more than 100 billion U.S. dollars, 75,000 remanufacturing companies, and more than 500,000 employees (2017 data). From the perspective of industrial output value, assuming that my country's remanufacturing industry accounts for 0.2% of GDP, the output value of my country's remanufacturing industry will exceed 127.293 billion yuan in 2015 and will reach 144.7 billion yuan in 2016. This shows how much room for development in our country.
Laser technology is the supporting technology of the modern information industry. Optical fiber communication is an indispensable material basis for high-speed Internet; wireless optical communication technology is the only way to realize the long-distance and rapid transmission of massive information. It is also a supercomputer, a large supercomputing center, a fifth-generation mobile communication technology (5G) base station and 5G data The main method of high-speed mass data transmission and exchange within and between centers and other centers; optical storage is the main method of mass large data information storage; high-definition laser display technology will trigger "a revolution in the history of human vision." "Reading Qianfan is still the most beautiful laser display." In addition, laser technology is also an important foundation for high-precision measurement and sensing, unmanned driving, and quantum communication.
Laser technology has become an irreplaceable type of technical means in the medical and diagnostic fields.
In the field of national defense, lasers have been used in ranging, imaging, pointing, guidance, communications, and countermeasures to improve the performance of weapons and equipment, such as increasing the hit rate and reliability, and in a sense, it has also changed the face of modern warfare. In recent years, high-energy laser weapons that directly use laser energy to kill targets have approached maturity, and will gradually enter the stage of development and deployment of multiple application equipment. Affected by the rapid expansion of the application of small drones, low-altitude defense laser systems have developed rapidly as an indispensable means of security for important locations and major events in peacetime.
(3) Accelerating the development of laser technology and applications can effectively promote and lead the transformation and upgrading of economic industries
The wide application and continuous expansion of laser technology show that this is an extremely important core key technology, basic technology and leading technology, which strongly promotes and leads the development, transformation and upgrading of the economy and industry.
First, laser technology is an important tool technology, and its application can accelerate the change of the face of related industries. The application and expansion of lasers in the manufacturing industry, information communication and medical industries illustrate this point.
Secondly, laser technology is a fundamental technology with strong permeability. The economic scale supported by laser products is far greater than its own economic scale. A 2010 US Office of Science and Technology Policy Research report pointed out that the total value of US telecommunications, e-commerce and information technology from 2009 to 2010 was US$4 trillion, of which the value of lasers was only US$3.2 billion (semiconductor and fiber lasers) . From another perspective, the importance of laser technology products in the economic system far exceeds the value scale of the products themselves.
Third, laser technology has a strong ability to breed and incubate new applications, and it can continuously integrate with other technologies to create new applications and new industries, and has outstanding industry-leading characteristics. The construction of 5G base stations has become a hot investment direction. This year, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Tower have successively announced 5G investment plans for 2020, with a total investment of about 200 billion yuan. According to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, the cumulative investment in 5G network construction will reach 1.2 trillion yuan by 2025, and will drive the upstream and downstream of the industrial chain and the application investment in various industries to exceed 3.5 trillion yuan. In addition, the maturity of laser display technology is about to give birth to a trillion-level industrial scale. According to statistics, in 2018, China’s annual TV production reached 170 million units, with an output value of more than 600 billion yuan, and the TV industry chain’s output value exceeded one trillion yuan, and it has long become the world’s largest color TV manufacturing center and the largest consumer market.
With the advent of 5G, lasers let ideals into reality!
This is why the fifth-generation mobile wireless communication technology is so compelling. Everyone’s 5G is so different:

For ordinary people, 5G is a faster internet speed;
For communication designers, 5G is a new code and a new standard;
For antenna engineers, it’s higher frequencies and more antennas;
For strategists, 5G is our approach to the limit of the two theorems.
The future is boundless, this is the confusion of getting lost. We need new theories to solve the problems of large traffic and low latency.
We need higher processing accuracy, higher performance materials, denser circuits and newer processing methods. Lasers, of course, are lasers. As another important invention of the 20th century, shorter-wavelength, short-pulse lasers have brought higher precision, and the processing accuracy of femtosecond lasers has entered the single-micron level. In fact, for mobile communications and high-frequency industries, short-pulse lasers have long been successfully applied in many scenarios. The applications of these applications in the 5G era will not only continue, but also have huge imagination and development space, and we will wait and see.



3. Analysis of the status quo of my country's laser technology and application development

(1) The main strength of laser technology research in my country is concentrated in research institutes and colleges and universities, and enterprises are relatively weak
Scientific research institutes and universities are the main force in my country's laser system science and technology research
Universities and research institutes have undertaken most of the state-planned laser research projects, and enterprises account for a small proportion. With the support of the national key R&D program for laser manufacturing and additive manufacturing, this situation has changed.
In comparison, Chinese enterprises are relatively weak in carrying out laser research, and they have relatively few funding from the national science and technology plan. Take the famous remanufacturing company Caterpillar as an example. In fiscal year 2014, its revenue was 55.184 billion U.S. dollars and its research and development expenses reached 2.2 billion U.S. dollars. In my country, only Huawei's R&D expenses are relatively high, exceeding 100 billion yuan per year. On the one hand, this reflects that China’s corporate scientific research strength and scientific research foundation are relatively weak, unable to compete with universities and research institutes; on the other hand, it also shows that the current laser field funding projects come from the frontiers of the industry, the problems are relatively basic, and the risks are greater. Industry linkages are weak and companies are not interested. In addition, there is a gap between our country’s laser companies and foreign related companies, TRUMPF, IPG and other companies. At the same time, we have less cooperation and exchanges between research institutes and companies. Institutions comparable to the Fraunhofer Institute of Laser Technology in Germany are also related. This aspect is gradually improving in recent years.
(2) my country's laser research field covers a wide area, and the overall technical level is not high enough
In the field of frontier scientific research, the fields of new semiconductor lasers, ultrafast and ultra-strong lasers, deep/extreme ultraviolet lasers, high-energy solid-state lasers, and free electron lasers are the main directions. They have the following characteristics: First, the frequency reflects the essence of lasers. Domain characteristics (ultrashort wave, ultra long wave, tunable, single frequency, wide spectrum, etc.), time domain characteristics (ultrafast, super peak, etc.) and energy domain characteristics (high brightness, high power, high energy, etc.) are better than ordinary lasers Higher performance; second, there are important application requirements, and there is still a certain gap between the current performance and application requirements; third, it indicates the important development trend and direction of laser technology (often including new materials, new structures, new Principles, discovery and invention of new systems). Cutting-edge laser technology is one of the key technologies related to occupying the strategic commanding heights of future science and technology, and it is the focus of fierce competition among countries in the world. At present, my country's science and technology plans have a certain planning layout and support for the above-mentioned cutting-edge laser technology directions. Generally speaking, most research directions have a certain gap with the world's advanced directions.
In the field of intelligent manufacturing, my country's laser manufacturing has become one of the fastest growing directions in the advanced manufacturing field in the past decade, but most of the technologies are still in the stage of tracking foreign advanced levels.
In the information field, keeping pace with the leading development of my country's mobile communications and data communications markets, my country's optical fiber communications research and industrialization development have reached the world's advanced level.
In the medical field, the basic research and technological innovation of laser medicine have grown rapidly in recent years.

In the field of national defense, after decades of hard work, my country's laser weapon technology is generally close to the international advanced level.




The road is long and long, and the road for my country's laser industrialization and commercialization is still very long in the future. There are still many key technologies that need to be solved. my country's laser industry will continue to develop rapidly. With the reality of the complex situation where the long-term and complex coexistence of the Sino-US trade war, it is an inevitable choice to abandon illusions and follow the path of self-reliance localization.

(4) my country’s laser application industry is facing a series of constraints for faster and better development

(1) Lack of institutional top-level overall planning and long-term planning.
(2) The basic research to support the development of the laser industry (such as new mechanisms, new mechanisms, and new processes to support the research and development of new products) is insufficient, resulting in the scarcity of original laser industries.
(3) Insufficient supply of key common technologies.
(4) Collaborative innovation of "production, study, research and application" is not enough.
(5) Industrial development policies need to be strengthened.
(6) Insufficient coverage of professional talent training.

4. thinking about the development goals of my country's laser technology and application in 2035

(1) Guiding ideology

Guided by Xi Jinping’s thoughts on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, serving the realization of the "two centenary" goals as the fundamental follow, and focusing on enhancing the ability of laser technology and industry to support overall national security, focusing on strengthening top-level planning and focusing on solutions The management system and mechanism constraints that restrict laser technology innovation and the high-quality development of the industry, and the independent controllability of key core technologies, strive to cultivate emerging laser application industries, accelerate the high-quality development of China’s laser technology and application industries, and realize the development of China’s laser technology and industry Historic leap.

(2) Overall goal

By 2035, the overall level and research capabilities of China's laser technology and applications will be significantly improved, the cutting-edge technology, application technology and industrialization level will be generally balanced, the technical level of the main fields will reach the world's advanced level, and the main laser industry will reach the same level as advanced countries, which is effectively supported China’s innovation-driven and sustainable development will create greater economic and social benefits.

(1) Break through cutting-edge laser technologies such as ultra-high brightness, ultra-short pulse and single-frequency ultra-stable lasers, and play a supporting role in basic physics research such as astronomy.

(2) Build a number of major laser devices (such as ultra-short and super-strong, XFEL, THz-FEL devices, etc.) to support basic research on materials, biology, energy, etc., to consolidate the stamina of my country's scientific and technological development. my country has built five major laser devices: Shanghai Super Power and Ultra-Short Laser Experimental Device, Shenguang II Laser Device, Shenguang III Laser Device, Shanghai Soft X-ray Laser Device, and Dalian Extreme Ultraviolet Coherent Light Source.

(3) Independently break through key bottleneck products such as laser semiconductor chips, realize the independent controllable level of the core foundation of the industry, and ensure economic safety.

(4) Develop new lasers such as new semiconductor lasers, develop basic research on the mechanism and technology of new laser applications, create new industries, and effectively support and promote the development of emerging industries such as 5G, big data, cloud computing, quantum technology, and autonomous driving. Development and realize the role of leading development.

(5) The technological level and industrial scale of laser in the field of intelligent manufacturing and information have reached the world's advanced level, effectively supporting the transformation and upgrading of my country's manufacturing industry.

(6) Serving the healthy China strategy, continue to expand medical diagnosis applications, and improve the ability of laser medical equipment to meet the high-end market.

(7) Actively develop national defense and security applications to meet national needs.

(3) Field goals

In the frontier field, by 2035, the overall level and research capabilities of laser cutting-edge technologies such as semiconductor lasers, high-energy solid-state lasers, ultrafast and ultra-high lasers, deep/extreme ultraviolet lasers and free electron lasers will be significantly improved, and a series of cores will be realized. Technological breakthroughs, the establishment of a number of major laser scientific research devices, the realization of the transformation of China's cutting-edge laser technology from following to leading, supporting and promoting China's basic scientific research and the development of cutting-edge applied technology.

In the field of intelligent manufacturing, a batch of original results will be achieved in basic research in 2035;

In the information field, my country's laser information technology and industry will be in a leading position in the world by 2035.

In the medical field, the goal by 2035 is to establish evaluation standards for the laser medical system and improve the ecological environment of medical lasers and the entire laser industry.

5.Suggestions for accelerating the development of laser technology and applications in my country

(1) Strengthen top-level overall planning and lead the rapid development of my country's laser technology and application industry.
(2) Strengthen basic research, focus on breaking through major basic issues and core basic materials and devices in the development of industrialization, and strive to build an independent and controllable industrial common technology foundation to lay a solid foundation for sustainable development.
(3) Implement a number of application research and development projects, increase industry support policies, and create multiple new laser industry chains.
(4) Innovate the industrial coordination mechanism and improve the innovation ecology of the laser industry. For example, give full play to the role of industry associations, industry alliances and other industry groups in industrial planning, industrial common technical issues and research and development, and industrial standard formulation.
(5) Strengthen basic laser education and increase the training of laser and optical application talents.

6. Conclusion

2020 is the 60th anniversary of the invention of lasers. The development of laser technology and applications has greatly changed the world. The “Nineteenth National Congress” of the Party has determined the strategic goal of basically realizing socialist modernization and becoming the forefront of innovative countries by 2035. This has brought unprecedented development opportunities for laser technology and applications, and also proposed the development of laser technology and applications. High standard requirements. We must fully understand the role and potential of laser technology and applications, recognize the difficulties and challenges that restrict development, strengthen overall planning, break through various constraints with the fearless spirit and courage of reform, adhere to independent innovation and open innovation, and adhere to applications and industries. Goal traction, strengthen the research of laser technology, improve the innovation ecology of the laser industry, actively seize the commanding heights of international competition, and contribute to the realization of the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.


This article is selected from the Journal of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, China Engineering Science, Issue 3, 2020



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