It Turns Out that Diamonds Could be a Drone’s Best Friend

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LakeDiamond’s system is working toward producing a laser beam that can shine directly on the photovoltaic cells on the drone’s surface. (Copyright LakeDiamond)

LakeDiamond is Swiss based company that manufactures very pure synthetic diamonds for industrial and commercial uses.  They have announced recently that they are developing technology that would help solve the problem of limited battery life by using synthetic diamonds in conjunction with a laser and tracking system to power drone flight.  Given the worldwide proliferation of drones for a variety of purposes and the limited flight time allowed by batteries,  LakeDiamond feels that it can be part of a solution that allows Drones to have much longer flight times (if not continuous) without having to carry larger and heavier batteries.

In early November, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), the parent company of LakeDiamond, announced that it was able to demonstrate the concept of using high-powered laser and tracking systems to extend the flight time of drones by using the photovoltaic power of diamonds.  These diamonds produced by LakeDiamond are only a few millimeters in diameter.

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Image by LakeDiamond

The LakeDiamond system uses a laser beam that can be focused directly on a photovoltic surface on the drone’s surface.    The diamond allows the beam to travel much further and without dramatic loss in strength.   The test system delivered more that 30 watts which is enough to power a small quad-copter drone.

LakeDiamond said that they expect a prototype of the charging system to be available in 2019.

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Image provided by LakeDiamond

While is is theoretically possible to fly a drone just using this technology the company feels that a small back-up battery may be necessary for when a drone flies behind a obstacle or the laser beam is temporary blocked.

LakeDiamond is part of a growing number of companies that are racing to increase the range and distance of drone flight.  They include companies such as Impossible AerospaceBSHARK, and others that use a variety of technologies to increase the flight and distance of drone flight.

Unrelated but of interest, is the fact that LakeDiamond is one of the first Swiss companies to raise money by allowing investors to participate in initial coin offering (ICO) crowd investing.  Investors will be able to buy tokens from industrial diamond manufacturer LakeDiamond, which is raising funds for new machinery to produce it’s synthetic diamonds.