laserfest

Tag archives for laserfest

Voting has closed on the Laser Smackdown poll, with 772 people recording their opinion on the most amazing of the many things that have been done with lasers in the fifty years since the invention of the first working laser (see the Laserfest web site for more on the history and applications of lasers). The…

We’re just over 600 votes in the Laser Smackdown poll in honor of the 50th anniversary of the laser, as of early Friday morning. I notice that it has moved off the front page of the blog, though, so here’s another signal-boosting repost, just so we have as many votes as possible, to establish maximum…

What’s the application? Producing artificial “stars” to serve as a reference for telescopes using adaptive optics to correct for atmospheric turbulence. This allows ground-based telescopes to produce images that are as good as those from the Hubble Space Telescope. What problem(s) is it the solution to? “How can I make this giant telescope produce even…

What’s the application? An optical frequency comb is a short-duration pulsed laser whose output can be viewed as a regularly spaced series of different frequencies. If the pulses are short enough, this can span the entire visible spectrum, giving a “comb” of colored lines on a traditional spectrometer. This can be used for a wide…

What’s the application? Using lasers to cut and/or cauterize tissue during surgical procedures, instead of the traditional very small very sharp knives. What problem(s) is it the solution to? 1) “How can we do surgery without touching the tissues being operated on?” 2) “How can I get rid of these annoying glasses/contact lenses?” How does…

Amazing Laser Application 9: Fusion!

What’s the application? The goal of laser ignition fusion experiments is to heat and compress a target to the point where the nuclei of the atoms making up the sample fuse together to form a new, heavier nucleus, releasing energy in the process. Nuclear fusion is, of course, what powers stars, and creating fusion in…

What’s the application? Holograms are images of objects that appear three-dimensional– if you move your head as you look at a hologram, you will see the usual parallax effects, unlike a normal photograph, which is fixed. So, if your hologram includes one object that is partly behind another object, you can see around the obstruction…