New Delhi: Laser science and Technology Centre (LASTEC) has its beginning as the experimental wing of DSO (Defence Science Organisation) started under Prof. DS Kothari, first Scientific Advisor to Raksha Mantri in January 1950. It was called the Defence Science Laboratory (DSL).
After a decade in 1960 on 9th April, Mr. Krishna Menon, the then Defence Minister, inaugurated the Defence Exhibition at the Metcalfe House. Thus, DSL, moved to its present campus of Metcalfe House. Prime Minister Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru visited DSL on 13th April 1960 and addressed the Defence scientists and academicians.
After reaching Metcalfe House, DSL exploded with expansion giving birth to as many as 15 labs of DRDO which included DRDL, SSPL, INMAS, FRL, ISSA, DESIDOC, DIFR, SAG and ITM etc. DRDO formally came into being on 1st January 1958.
DSL, which was working in many areas of Defence interest, now started concentrating in the area of Pure Sciences such as Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. The chemistry division developed G-fuel and UDMH for rocket and missile. The Mathematics division continued its support to the missile Programme with simulation and calculations, while the Physics division took the lead by launching many activities.
In 1981 DSL got its new Technical Building, its New charter of duties to work in the area of Lasers and its new name as Defence Science Centre (DScC), which continued till 1999. subsequently, the present name of Laser Science and Technology Centre was notified.
With the start of DScC in 1981, intensive work commenced on solid State Lasers, CO2 Lasers, ALARM, LRF, Fibre Optic Gyroscope, Ring Laser Gyroscope, Laser Intruder Alarm system etc.
In the late eighties, DScC took up challenging work on Gas dynamic Laser, which was successfully developed indigenously. It was operated for the first time in India with output power of 10 KW in 1996. Later in 1997, DScC took yet another challenging work of Chemical Oxygen Iodine Lasers (COIL) and some work on Electro-Optic Counter Measure (EOCM). Chemistry division of DScC started working on laser Materials including Laser Crystals and Laser Glasses.
During the last three years LASTEC has been engaged in developing GDL, COIL, LIDAR, eye Safe Laser, latest Laser Crystals Nd:YVO4, Nd:GGG etc and Er: and Nd:Doped Phosphate Glasses, along with EOCM Gadgets like Laser threat Warner, Laser Dazzlers, PRF Decoders.
Last year LASTEC took R&D work in the area of Heat Capacity Solid State Laser (HCSSL), Fibre laser and Liquid Oxygen Laser and recently achieved outstanding success by making a HCSSL laser of 52j for the first time in India.
This passing year LASTEC has also achieved another milestone by developing Laser Seeker Test set up, LGB tester, IR tester for Missile, in addition to 5kg GD, on trailer. The vehicle mounted laser demonstrated its capability outside the lab as well. This year, for the first time in India, LASTEC also developed a full Nd:YVO4 laser by growing its Crystal, processing it cutting, polishing, thin film coating and finally shaping it into a laser. LASTEC is also on verge of developing new COIL.
LASTEC is fast emerging the pioneer centre of laser activities in India.