Saser: The Sonic Laser

Coherent, intense beams of ultrasound produce a sonic laser

A Semiconductor Quantum-Well Saser

The University of Nottingham's earliest nano-saser devicevia Laser Focus World

This has been a good week for sonic physics. First came reports that scientists used sound waves to create a sonic black hole. Now, it seems that a different group of scientists have used specially calibrated sound waves to create something almost as cool: a sonic laser.

The lasers most people are familiar with are formed from beams of light with identical wave structures, added together to form one giant, coherent wave. The saser, created by scientists from the University of Nottingham, England, works the same way, but with correlated sound waves instead of light waves.

The researchers started working on the idea in 2006, but it wasn't until recently that they finally got the saser to work. So far, they have only been able to generate sasers on the nanoscale, but even those small-scale sasers could have applications in computing, medical technology, and the development of super-fine sonogram sensors.

What happens when you fire a sonic laser into a sonic black hole? We hope to find out soon.`