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The High-Repetition-Rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System (HAPLS) under construction in the Czech Republic is designed to generate a peak power of more than 1 quadrillion watts (1 petawatt, 1015 watts). The key component to this instrument – the laser "pump" – will be a set of solid-state laser diode arrays recently constructed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). At peak power, this electronic assemblage develops a staggering 3.2 million watts of power and are the most powerful laser diode arrays ever built. Read More
The 2015 North American Handmade Bicycle Show may have just wrapped up, but that doesn't mean we're no longer hearing about interesting small-batch bikes. Belgian industrial designer Tobias Knockaert recently told us about his stainless steel Erembald bike, that he's producing along with partner Karel Vincke. In order to keep prices down, its frame is cut by lasers and put together like a puzzle. Read More
Helium-4 superfluid is a fascinating substance. With properties that seemingly defy normal physics, it leaks straight through glass, bubbles up out of containers, flows around objects and even climbs up walls. As if superfluid helium-4 was not strange enough, in 1941 it was also predicted that it should contain an exotic, particle-like excitation – a quasiparticle – called a roton. After many years of trying to verify this prediction, researchers at the University of California now claim to have successfully created a roton structure in an atomic superfluid of cesium-133. Read More
Turbine blades for use in jet engines need to be made of a hard, unyielding exotic material made to exact specifications, which means the drilling of tiny cooling holes in the blades runs the risk of ruining them. To prevent this from happening, GE is combining the heat of the laser beam with the cooling of the water jet to drill holes without weakening the blades. Read More
By applying 120 year old radio frequency antenna theory to the much newer field of photonics, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory claim to have produced a prototype optical antenna that increases the intensity of emission from a nanorod light source by more than 115 times. This technique may offer the opportunity to replace power-hungry lasers in short-range optical communications devices with enhanced low-power LEDs. Read More
The quantum entanglement of particles, such as photons, is a prerequisite for the new and future technologies of quantum computing, telecommunications, and cyber security. Real-world applications that take advantage of this technology, however, will not be fully realized until devices that produce such quantum states leave the realms of the laboratory and are made both small and energy efficient enough to be embedded in electronic equipment. In this vein, European scientists have created and installed a tiny "ring-resonator" on a microchip that is claimed to produce copious numbers of entangled photons while using very little power to do so. Read More
Swiss scientists have created the first semiconductor laser consisting solely of elements of main group IV (the carbon group) on the periodic table. Simply, this means that the new device is directly compatible with other elements in that group – such as silicon, carbon, and lead – and so can be directly incorporated in a silicon chip as it is manufactured. This presents new possibilities for transmitting data around computer chips using light, which could result in potential transfer speeds exponentially faster than possible with copper wire and using only a fraction of the energy of today’s integrated circuits. Read More
With the help of very high-power laser beams, researchers at the University of Rochester have created micro and nanostructures that turn metals black and make their surfaces very easy to keep clean and dry. The advance could help prevent icing and rust, collect heat more effectively and perhaps even translate to other materials, leading to water-repelling electronics. Read More
Using red/blue filters (anaglyph), polarized (passive) or LED shutter (active) glasses are relatively simple ways of creating a 3D effect. Creating 3D pictures without viewers having to don any form of eyewear is a little trickier and is made even more so if you want really big 3D effects for a sports stadium or a billboard. To help address this, Austrian scientists working at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) and the company TriLite Technologies have developed a new kind of display just for this purpose that sends beams of light directly to the viewers’ eyes via a laser and a sophisticated mirror system. Read More
Imagine laser tag with a million players all on the one battlefield. It's ridiculous to even think about, but the creators of iTager claim that their system makes it possible. It's a ground-up reimagining and re-engineering of laser tag replete with fully-wireless, remote-controllable systems that work in all weather conditions over a whopping 2,500 ft (760 m) and that can easily be mounted onto existing laser tag weapons (or even your hand or a bicycle) or purchased preinstalled on rifles the creators made themselves. Read More