"Our work has demonstrated a diamond-based converter for enabling beam brightness enhancement for the first time," says McKay.
Conventional conversion techniques are electronically and optically complicated, while the heat produced causes more problems than it solves, including affecting the quality of the laser beam.
"Diamond is such an awesome material in terms of its thermal properties. It is very efficient and has up to 1000 times better heat handling capability than other materials," says McKay.
Because the technique uses a diamond measuring just millimeters in length it also means conversion can take place using a much smaller device, increasing portability.
The beam conversion occurs using a process known as Raman scattering, which not only improves the quality of the beam, but also converts its color or wavelength. The researchers used this property to convert the beam wavelength into the less dangerous 'eye-safe region'.
Lasers in this part of the spectrum are in great demand for applications including range finding, remote sensing and point-to-point communication, which is often used between navy ships.