Navy technicians have proven they can use laser technology to detect cracks in riveted joints. In tests conducted by the Naval Research Laboratory’s Optical Sciences Division, automated lasers were able to identify potential problems associated with temperature, strain, impact, and cracks – before they reached critical levels. “Our research team has demonstrated the ability of this fiber laser technology to detect acoustic emission at ultrasonic frequencies from cracks generated in a simulated fatigue environment,” said Dr. Geoffrey Cranch of the Optical Sciences Division. The technology some day could have applications for civil engineers as they inspect bridges, buildings, and other infrastructure.