Physics nerds and sci-fi geeks just about everywhere agree: lasers are cool. But cool enough to drop the temperature of a gas by 119 degrees in a matter of seconds? German researchers say so, having made advances on ideas reaching back 30 years but never successfully executed. Bombarding high-pressure gas with a laser, the scientists were able to create a significant cooling effect, shaving the aforementioned 119 degrees from the gas almost instantly by pushing electrons into higher orbit.
Manipulating the paths of electrons is no small task, but the researchers were able to drastically simplify the process by using high pressure gas. The pressure makes the electrons act erratically as atoms collide with one another, slightly bending their paths. Once off their normal paths, electrons can be pushed into higher orbit with far less energy than would be needed at low pressure. As collisions subside, the electrons try to go back to their usual paths, albeit at their new higher orbits. In order to remain in that higher orbit, they must absorb energy around them, and that process slows the gas particles tremendously, causing a rapid, precipitous drop in temperature.
Aside from the earth-shattering ramifications this breakthrough will have on collegiate keggers, the technology could have various commercial applications. Previous methods of rapid refrigeration have been used to produce shinier chocolate and more pristine vodkas. Meanwhile, materials researchers have coaxed some interesting properties from rapidly cooled materials in the past. Refrigeration at such dramatic speeds can produce "supercooled" gasses that remain gaseous at temperatures at which they would usually become liquid (water has been pushed to -44 degrees in its liquid state), and scientists think more rapid methods like as laser cooling could unlock more secrets of the natural world.
For the rest of us, there's the chocolate and vodka, and that ain't so bad.
... does this mean someone made an actual, honest to god freeze ray?
If your target is standing in a high pressure gas you could give him at least some very nasty frost bite, perhaps.
So this is how Hans Sola got frozen so fast. It's a great futuristic device to suddenly freeze people for interstellar space travel.
I can see it now, in the future food will go from freezer burn to laser burn.
What I don't understand is where the heat energy is actually transferred to? But if this really works and they can make this laser big enough and use it over the north and south poles running 24 hours a day, would this have any temperature effect on a planetary scale?
If this can be done, what an achievement it could be in slowing down global warming...
Forgive me if I'm mistaken but, didn't NASA say that global warming was a natural earth/sun cycle? Wouldn't it be manipulation of another natural cycle to try to counter-act it?
Gor global warming this would not really be a good fix. The pressures involved are fairly high to get the effect they are working on here. Also the article did not mention what the energy costs were to achieve this effect.
However this technology could be modified for home and industrial refrigeration possible without toxic chemical agents. Again though the issue of energy cost would need to be clarified.
Components of global weather change are related to the solar cycles. That is why it has been relatively cool these last few years (sun spot activity at ~ 0).
However there is a great deal of evidence that we are also seeing warming due to green house effects, which also seems to be largely increased by the activities of humans and industrialization.
Also it is silly to think that we do not manipulate natural cycles all the time. Nature no matter how lovely she may be is not always your friend. Salmonella is natural as is leprosy and the black death, and these are things we interfere with all the time.
or maybe we could point it at the sun and cool us down
The heat energy is used to maintain the higher electron states. So, the heat energy is being transferred to the individual electrons.
like really cooooooooooooolll.
just zap it at ur coffee for a milisecond if ur coffee is too hot.
instant icecubes, and countertop refrigeration. no need for a large bulky freezer stuck in ur kitchen,
could be useful for warts.
if they could make it portable....
hans solo was not frozen, he was emmbeded in carbonite
This laser will be useful but you still need a refrigerant to pressurize and change stage. This sounds like it will take place of a compresser and condensor coil in a refrigeration system. But without a gas to to change into a liquid state and draw heat there will be no freezing. So no, not a Freeze Ray.
maybe the further application of this could finally create cold fusion, in which the heat created could be cooled enough to create the power needed
What wavelength, my beer is a bit warm?
Is this article talking about Celsius or Fahrenheit?