When Water Outpaces Silicon…

On target: Water is fanned out through a specially developed nozzle, and then a laser pulse is passed through it to create a switch. (Courtesy: Adrian Buchmann) Topics: Applied Physics, Lasers, Materials Science, Photonics, Semiconductor Technology A laser-controlled water-based switch that operates twice as fast as existing semiconductor switches has been developed by a trio ofContinue reading “When Water Outpaces Silicon…”

Life Detector…

An Orbitrap cell. Credit: Ricardo Arevalo Topics: Astrobiology, Astronautics, Biology, Laser, NASA, Planetary Science, Space Exploration As space missions delve deeper into the outer solar system, the need for more compact, resource-conserving, and accurate analytical tools have become increasingly critical—especially as the hunt for extraterrestrial life and habitable planets or moons continues. A University ofContinue reading “Life Detector…”

Caveat Emptor…

Topics: Alternate Energy, Applied Physics, Climate Change, Energy, Global Warming, Lasers, Nuclear Fusion After the heady, breathtaking coverage of pop science journalism, I dove into the grim world inhabited by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on their take on the first-ever fusion reaction. I can say that I wasn’t surprised. With all this publicity,Continue reading “Caveat Emptor…”

Quipu…

Topics: Lasers, Modern Physics, Quantum Computer, Quantum Mechanics Physicists have devised a mind-bending error-correction technique that could dramatically boost the performance of quantum computers. When the ancient Incas wanted to archive tax and census records, they used a device made up of a number of strings called a quipu, which encoded the data in knots. Fast-forwardContinue reading “Quipu…”

Getting Back Mojo…

Topics: Applied Physics, Lasers, Magnetism, Materials Science, Phonons When a magnetic material is bombarded with short pulses of laser light, it loses its magnetism within femtoseconds (10–15 seconds). The spin, or angular momentum, of the electrons in the material, thus disappears almost instantly. Yet all that angular momentum cannot simply be lost. It must be conservedContinue reading “Getting Back Mojo…”

Cooling Teleportation…

Topics: CERN, Condensed Matter Physics, Entanglement, Lasers, Quantum Mechanics Much of modern experimental physics relies on a counterintuitive principle: Under the right circumstances, zapping matter with a laser doesn’t inject energy into the system; rather, it sucks energy out. By cooling the system to a fraction of a degree above absolute zero, one can observeContinue reading “Cooling Teleportation…”

Nano Laser…

Topics: Applied Physics, Bose-Einstein Condensate, Lasers, Nanotechnology, Optics Physicists have taken a step towards realizing the smallest-ever solid-state laser by generating an exotic quantum state known as a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) in quasiparticles consisting of both matter and light. Although the effect has so far only been observed at ultracold temperatures in atomically thin crystalsContinue reading “Nano Laser…”

Plasma Guides and Lasers…

Topics: Lasers, Optics, Plasma, Research, Star Trek, Star Wars In science fiction, firing powerful lasers looks easy — the Death Star can just send destructive power hurtling through space as a tight beam. But in reality, once a powerful laser has been fired, care must be taken to ensure it doesn’t get spread too thin.Continue reading “Plasma Guides and Lasers…”