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Laser

The camera uses diffused light instead of mirrors to see around corners

Peeking around a corner has long been a staple of spy films and TV, from Get Smart to 007. Researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada have found a better way than poking a makeup mirror about, however: a camera system that can reconstruct the shape of objects using diffusely scattered laser light.  Read More

A mouse's small intestine, as made visible using nanojuice

When someone suffers from a gastrointestinal disorder such as celiac disease, Crohn's disease or irritable bowel syndrome, it's standard practice for doctors to take a look at the state of their small intestine. This is typically done by having them drink a rather unpleasant-tasting barium solution, and then submitting to x-rays, an MRI or ultrasound. According to scientists at New York's University at Buffalo, however, all of those imaging techniques have serious shortcomings. Their proposed solution? A stiff drink of nanojuice.  Read More

LLNL researchers are working to improve 3D metal printing using higher-powered lasers

To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, there was a time when 3D metal printing was like a dog walking on his hind legs – it wasn't done well; but you were surprised to find it done at all. Now that laser sintering or Selective Laser Melting (SLM) is used for everything from printing rocket engine components to semi-automatic pistols, the time for surprise may b long past, but the technology still has plenty of room for improvement. That's why researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) are working on simulations to improve the speed of 3D laser printing and the quality of the final product by using higher-powered lasers.  Read More

Artist's concept of OPALS in operation (Image: NASA)

While the International Space Station may be mankind’s outpost for the conquest of space, it still leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to a decent YouTube connection. That’s because, for all its sophistication, the station’s communications system is still based on 1960s radio technology and has all the bandwidth of a soda straw. That changed this week as NASA took a step into the video age with the test of its Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) demonstrator, which saw a laser used to beam a video to Earth in seconds instead of the usual minutes.  Read More

Raydiance's R-Cut femtosecond laser system allows for mobile phones with complex shapes

Smartphones have come a long way in a few short years, but two things have remained constant; most sport a "slab of glass" form factor, and dropping one makes you wish you’d had it insured. Designers have used new materials, such as Gorilla glass and sapphire to make phone displays lighter and more durable, but these have introduced their own problems – especially when it comes to manufacturing. Gizmag spoke with Raydiance, a company specializing in cutting-edge laser fabrication methods, about its new R-Cut femtosecond laser system that promises a “new paradigm" in high-tech glass fabrication.  Read More

Scientists have used lasers to gauge the alcohol vapor content of the air in moving cars  ...

It used to be that the only way you could get a speeding ticket was if a police officer personally witnessed your overly-fast driving. Then photo radar came along. Well, when it comes to drunk driving, lasers could soon be the equivalent of photo radar. Polish researchers at the Military University of Technology in Warsaw have demonstrated how the high-intensity beams of light can be used to detect the presence of alcohol – even exhaled alcohol – in passing vehicles.  Read More

Thermometer made of light is claimed accurate to 30 billionths of a degree  (Image: Dr. Ja...

By exploiting the difference between the speed of two different beams of colored light when traveling through a heated crystalline disk, University of Adelaide researchers claim to have produced the world's most sensitive thermometer – with an accuracy of 30 billionths of a degree.  Read More

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have devised a method of using ligh...

The trouble with existing 3D imaging technology is that – at the consumer level, at least – it tends to struggle with distances beyond a few feet. Put even a third of the width of a basketball court between yourself and a Microsoft Kinect sensor, for instance, and it won't pick up your movements at all. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, claim to have developed a Lidar (light radar)-based system that can remotely sense objects across distances as long as 30 feet (10 m), which could have widespread benefits in fields as diverse as entertainment, transportation, robotics, and mobile phones.  Read More

Lasers could dramatically shrink the size and cost of particle accelerators such as the LH...

Particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are wonders of modern engineering and vending machines for Nobel prizes, but they’re also large – as indicated by the LHC's name – and costly. A new theoretical study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) Center suggests how lasers could dramatically shrink the size and cost of particle accelerator. If the models hold true, it could remove a significant bottleneck from physics research and open up such machines to industrial and medical applications.  Read More

New research indicates that it may one day be possible for us to regrow teeth ... with som...

Ranking among the X-Men probably isn't all that it's cracked up to be, but who wouldn't want their uncanny ability to regenerate lost bone or tissue? New research into tooth repair and stem cell biology, from a cross-institution team led by David Mooney of Harvard's Wyss Institute, may bring such regeneration one step closer to reality – or at the very least, give us hope that we can throw away those nasty dentures.  Read More

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