B. Vanagas performs a unique experiment at the Dakar Rally: the Litilit laser overcomes both the journey and the fatal crash

Although Benediktas Vanagas and Kuldar Sikk's Dakar Rally team had to stop early due to a medical emergency, the racer managed to perform a unique experiment: the Neolit ultrashort pulse generator laser from Lithuanian laser innovator Litilit that was in the car with him made it through the journey and is now working perfectly. This is the first time in the history of Dakar that an ultra-precise, femtosecond industrial laser has been transported on the race track.

The racer managed to perform a unique experiment: the Neolit ultrashort pulse generator laser from Lithuanian laser innovator Litilit that was in the car with him made it through the journey and is now working perfectly.<br>Andrius Laucius picture.
The racer managed to perform a unique experiment: the Neolit ultrashort pulse generator laser from Lithuanian laser innovator Litilit that was in the car with him made it through the journey and is now working perfectly.<br>Andrius Laucius picture.
The racer managed to perform a unique experiment: the Neolit ultrashort pulse generator laser from Lithuanian laser innovator Litilit that was in the car with him made it through the journey and is now working perfectly.<br>Andrius Laucius picture.
The racer managed to perform a unique experiment: the Neolit ultrashort pulse generator laser from Lithuanian laser innovator Litilit that was in the car with him made it through the journey and is now working perfectly.<br>Andrius Laucius picture.
The racer managed to perform a unique experiment: the Neolit ultrashort pulse generator laser from Lithuanian laser innovator Litilit that was in the car with him made it through the journey and is now working perfectly.<br>Andrius Laucius picture.
The racer managed to perform a unique experiment: the Neolit ultrashort pulse generator laser from Lithuanian laser innovator Litilit that was in the car with him made it through the journey and is now working perfectly.<br>Andrius Laucius picture.
The racer managed to perform a unique experiment: the Neolit ultrashort pulse generator laser from Lithuanian laser innovator Litilit that was in the car with him made it through the journey and is now working perfectly.<br>Andrius Laucius picture.
The racer managed to perform a unique experiment: the Neolit ultrashort pulse generator laser from Lithuanian laser innovator Litilit that was in the car with him made it through the journey and is now working perfectly.<br>Andrius Laucius picture.
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Lrytas.lt

Jan 17, 2023, 5:05 PM

Vanagas placed the Litilit laser in the driver's storage compartment attached to the car door during the prologue stage of the Dakar. The device was there until the fatal collision with a rock, which caused Vanagas to withdraw from the race after suffering a head injury.

„Of course, no one expects or anticipates accidents, so we are happy that we managed to avoid a major accident and that both crew members came back safe and sound. As recently revealed, the car was subjected to a force of 19.8 G's in the collision – a really powerful impact. Even though we had not specially protected the laser, it survived the journey and the accident and is working as it should. So our experiment to assess the durability of the Neolit laser was a success – we found the laser to be extremely robust, reliable and resistant to external factors such as shock and impact,“ says Nikolay Gavrilin, CEO of Litilit.

Vanagas, who „tested“ the femtosecond laser on the track for the first time in the history of Dakar, pointed out that the rally is a challenge for both riders and machinery. Although they cannot fly at the speed of light, as the pulses emitted by the laser do, the maximum speed on the track is 180 km/h. At this speed, off-road, over dirt, rocks, sand, dunes, and covering more than 500 kilometres every day, shaking and jolting are a constant state of travel.

„I used to be convinced that lasers are sensitive and fragile devices that require special conditions to operate. So when Litilit asked me in the run-up to Dakar if I could find room in the car for a book-sized box with a laser, I thought they were joking. I was sure that the device would be out of order after the first stage. The fact that Lithuanian lasers are as durable as Vytis was unexpected. It is not for nothing that Lithuanian laser developers are well-known and set the technological trends for the whole world,“ says B. Vanagas.

Unlike other lasers of its type, the Neolit ultra-short pulse generator laser does not use semiconductor materials such as gallium or arsenic, which makes the device longer-lasting and more durable. The one-piece construction ensures high stability and protection against vibrations and temperature changes.

With this laser, Litilit is a finalist in the International Photonics Society's (SPIE) competition, Prism Awards 2022. The 'Oscars of Lasers' award is presented annually to laser, photonics or optics companies for their most innovative products.


 

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