Photokina 2014 highlights

Laser

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

Researchers at Imperial College London have devised a method of achieving light to matter ...

In what could be a landmark moment in the history of science, physicists working at the Blackett Physics Laboratory in Imperial College London have designed an experiment to validate one of the most tantalizing hypotheses in quantum electrodynamics: the theory that matter could be created using nothing more than pure light.  Read More

Fraunhofer's thermic-piezoelectric deformable mirror could be applied in high-powered lase...

One cinematic cliché we've all seen is when the hero deflects the villain's dastardly laser beam with a hastily snatched hand mirror, sending it back at his adversary. Physics, ever the wet blanket, says that this is a highly improbable scenario. Focusing high-powered lasers isn't easy. A powerful laser distorts the mirror, throwing the beam off and spreading it out uselessly. To combat this, Fraunhofer is developing a lens that can deform itself to compensate for heating and other distortion factors to keep lasers focused on target.  Read More

The all-new Audi R8 LMX is one of the first car designs in the world to use laser high bea...

Audi has revealed the all-new R8 LMX, the most powerful road-going variant of its super sports car. More interesting than its extra 20 ponies is the set of laser eyes staring at the road ahead. The R8 LMX edges out the BMW i8 to the title of world's first production car equipped with standard laser lighting.  Read More

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