Researchers in UCSD's engineering department are taking lasers to new lows, demonstrating a micron-scale laser measuring less than one-thousandth of a millimeter per side. And while sub-wavelength lasers have been demonstrated in the past, the UCSD team did it without cryogenically cooling their gear to extremely low temperatures; their tiny laser pulses away at room temperature, making it the smallest laser to do so and paving the way for practical commercial use.
Weather control freaks may get their next rainmaking tool in the form of an infrared laser. Scientists have successfully created small clouds by firing a laser both inside a lab and under the autumn skies of Berlin, Germany, New Scientist reports.
The initial fallout from a chemical or radiological attack would be devastating enough, but the cleanup of such an incident would be equally hazardous. While HAZMAT teams and other authorities have methods of scrubbing radiological and chemical waste, the porous nature of building materials like concrete gives radionuclides and dangerous chemical agents plenty of places to hide from conventional cleanup methods.
I am interested in having a clock that looks like a stealth fighter or Batmobile, all sharp craggy black angles. One that also displays the time by bouncing a single red laser beam off sixty intricately positioned, rotating mirrors. Art Lebedev, the Russian design crazies who gave us the Optimus keyboard, have obliged.
A laser-obsessed entrepreneur whose mosquito-zapping project demoed at the TED 2010 conference has bigger plans for energy beams. Tom Nugent envisions using lasers to deliver energy over long distances -- whether that means juicing up an aerial drone's batteries or beaming solar space power down from orbital satellites, according to Xconomy.
Powerful X-ray lasers may allow scientists to image tiny drug molecules or even precisely target cancer cells, but the lasers require extremely high-quality mirrors to function well. Now researchers have created a nearly-flawless diamond that can do the job, according to Discovery News.
Skyborne chemical lasers have successfully shown off their potential killing power, and so the Air Force has now turned toward putting a more compact electric laser aboard its aircraft, Aviation Week'sAres Defense Blog reports.
Say the word "toy" to a techie, and his mind will think one thing: robots. But all infrared-loving, artificially-intelligent smart-toy-ogling tech-savvy aside, new toys can instill as much "ooh! shiny!" as even the hottest cellphone. And we're not just talking about robots: This week, the International Toy Fair hit NYC, and PopSci.com found 20 funky new toys with a few tricks up their sleeves.
Futuristic airborne energy weapons have officially arrived, so mark your calendars. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency said that its airborne laser weapon successfully shot down a ballistic missile during a test late last night, according to Reuters.
Lasers can already track and hopefully shoot down missiles, so perhaps it was inevitable that humans would turn that power against the airborne bloodsucker threat. Scientists from the Intellectual Ventures Laboratory showed their lasers tracking mosquitoes live during the TED 2010 conference, and also unveiled the awesome laser pew-pew effect in a new video. See the smoking hot results for yourself.