Petaluma technology startup Raydiance Inc. has won $1.75 million in government contracts for research on super-fast lasers, the company said Monday.

The three contracts from the National Science Foundation and U.S. Navy focus on optical amplification, pulse compressor technology and advanced optical fibers.

Raydiance has developed a high-power short-pulse laser platform that can vaporize material without generating heat, creating new ways to perform surgery, treat tumors or etch exotic materials, the company said. The technology also could detect and disarm explosives.

The Navy is interested in the technology for electronic self-defense of its fighter aircraft. The National Science Foundation wants to explore ways to amplify laser pulses without distortion.

Raydiance was founded in Florida and moved to Petaluma in 2006. It has about 40 employees and is led by Internet pioneer Barry Schuler, former CEO of Time Warner's AOL unit.

It has raised more than $20 million in venture capital in recent years.

Read all of the PD's fire coverage here