General Applications
Listing of some General Applications where lasers have helped in research
This section is planned to post the list of some important journals, useful site links etc. Abstract of some of the recent research articles indicating the latest research trends along with a detailed bibliography will also be posted.

Suggestions to include any other information in this section are welcome.
  1. Laser makes molecules super-cool
  2. Laser Made Rain Clouds
  3. Featured Application: Laser Cutting Carbon Fiber Composite
  4. Laser Etching Safe Alternative For Labeling Grapefruit
  5. Scientist shines laser light on methane in pursuit of clean fuel
  6. 'Mini lasers' illuminate dark molecules
  7. Modeling a black hole with a 300 GigaWatt laser
  8. Laser land-levelling project for farmers initiated
  9. NPL Develops Femtosecond Laser Tech for Formation Space Flying
  10. Using Lasers to Map Bird Habitat
  15. Liquid mirror shows promise for adaptive optics
  16. BEAM COMBINING: High-power fiber-laser beams are combined incoherently
  17. Lasers need lenses no more
  18. Indian American bags global laser display award
  19. Replacing Wire With Laser, Sun Tries to Speed Up Data
  20. A High Power Laser Zap to Nanotechnology
  21. Scientist in Texas Runs NASA's Lunar Laser Program
  22. Laser System cuts up to 1.25 in. thick steel/.750 in. SS.
  23. Japanese Team Invents Tiny Laser Light Powered Motor
  25. All that glitter is tech
  26. Brookhaven Lab Physicist Ilan Ben-Zvi Wins Free Electron Laser Prize
  28. Solar Converted to Laser Light
  30. Laser-based analyzer gives ultra fast and accurate measurement of trace moisture
  31. Dancing atoms hold prospect of superfast computing
  33. Laser system offers cheaper, faster pathogen detection
  34. Laser Based Thermometer (Red hot gadget)
  35. Free Electron Laser Achieves 10 Kilowatts of Infrared Laser Light
  36. What's New in Laser Optics Could Lead to "Light Bullets"
  37. SDSU professor uses laser beam to study forest conditions (LIDAR)

Laser makes molecules super-cool

19 Sept 2010:Using lasers, scientists have chilled a dipolar molecule to a temperature just a fraction of a degree above absolute zero (around –273°C) — an important step in the race to generate new kinds of ultra-cold matter that could be used for everything from quantum computing to chemistry.

Edward Shuman, John Barry and David DeMille, all from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, used an old technique and several new tricks to cool molecules of strontium monofluoride (SrF) to just a few hundred microkelvin. The work represents the first time that a molecule has been laser cooled in situ, and is published online today in Nature .

Cooling molecules is much trickier than chilling individual atoms. Atoms can be cooled using lasers because light particles from the laser beam are absorbed and re-emitted by the atoms, causing them to lose some of their kinetic energy. After thousands of such impacts, the atoms are chilled to within billionths of a degree above absolute zero.

Laser Made Rain Clouds

04 May 2010:The ability to create clouds and possibly rain is now in the hands of humankind. Recently, in a collaborative geo-engineering project between Swiss, German, and French researchers, small clouds were created by firing a laser into the sky above Berlin,Germany.

The laser strips electrons from atoms in the atmosphere, forming hydroxyl radicals that create sulfur and nitrogen dioxides. These dioxides act as seed' particles for moisture droplets to form. Current cloud-making techniques involve spreading silver iodide crystals in the atmosphere as the "seeds".

The researchers tried out the system in the lab, creating mini-cloud streams in water-saturated air at -24°C (-11.2F), with visible linear clouds along the path of the laser. Later, during outside testing, the laser was focused at a 60m (197ft.) altitude and produced increased water vapor but no clearly visible clouds.

The laser generates a 220-millijoule pulse for 60 femtoseconds (60 millionth of one billionth of a second). It all sounds pretty tiny but the power is equivalent to 3.5 teraWatts peak power) at a central wavelength of 800 nanometres, a repetition rate of 10Hz and a 4cm (1.6") beam diameter. Although not ideal, laser cloud making could still be better for the planet than flying aircraft or firing rockets into the atmosphere and spraying silver iodide over large areas.

Featured Application: Laser Cutting Carbon Fiber Composite

April 26th, 2010:Today's advanced composite materials fall into three main classes: Ceramic Matrix Composites, Metal Matrix Composites, and the most common type - Polymer Matrix Composites or PMCs. Polymer composites are created by adding reinforcing fibers such as aramid,carbon, graphite, or glass to a thermosetting resin like epoxy or polyurethane. Although the material properties of individual fibers are not spectacular by themselves, the combination of fiber and resin properties along with the design of the fiber geometry within the composite combine to produce lightweight, durable materials that are quickly replacing metals, especially in the aerospace industry. Because it is a non-contact process, CO2 laser cutting is ideal for composites, especially when specific shapes or profile cuts are required. For this test, all runs were made using 200 watts of power at cut speeds of 120-125 inches per minute (IPM). Beam delivery to the surface of the 1 mm (0.04") thick PMC material was focused through a 2.5" positive meniscus lens, which provided a 100-micron (0.004") spot with a 1.8 mm (0.07") depth of focus. The cut edge exhibits a light charring, which is typical of the chemical degradation cutting method where laser energy degrades the material to a point that the material is removed under pressure of an inert assist gas. Because edge quality was important in this particular application, we modified our assist gas setup for high-pressure nitrogen.

The use of a high-pressure (180 PSI) nitrogen assist gas significantly reduced edge charring on the PMC material. It's important to note that although gas consumption increased by 355% using high-pressure nitrogen (an N2 flow rate of 2.73 CFM @ 180 PSI versus 0.77 CFM @ 40 PSI for air), the relative costs of high-purity nitrogen and breathing grade air means that gas costs increase by only 200% in achieving substantially better cut edge quality

Laser Etching Safe Alternative For Labeling Grapefruit

Nov. 4, 2009: Laser labeling of fruit and vegetables is a new, patented technology in which a low-energy carbon dioxide laser beam is used to label, or "etch" information on produce, thereby eliminating the need for common sticker-type

The technology has been licensed for use on a variety of fruits and vegetables and is being used in New Zealand, Australia, and Pacific Rim countries. It has been been approved in Asia, South Africa, Central and South America, Canada, and the European Union. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in the final stages of approving the use of laser etching in the United States.

Scientist shines laser light on methane in pursuit of clean fuel

October 22nd, 2009: A National Science Foundation grant is supporting a novel approach using laser light to convert methane into methanol. Roger Dube, research professor at Rochester Institute of Technology's Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, won the $79,000 exploratory research award to apply optical catalytic conversion to the problem. Dube will use finely tuned laser light, not heat, to reduce the barrier to reaction in methane and to create longer chain molecules or fuels. The process works without the need for heat or a catalytic surface. This is important because heat consumes some of the fuel stock and decreases overall conversion efficient. Catalysts get dirty and have to be replaced or cleaned, both expensive and time-consuming propositions.

"Successful photo-catalysis of methane would theoretically produce clean fuels and remove methane gas that otherwise would simply be released into the atmosphere," Dube says. "If successful, the technology could have broad impact in other fields of chemistry."

'Mini lasers' illuminate dark molecules

Oct 21, 2009: A new microscopy technique that turns molecules into "mini lasers" has been developed by researchers in the US. The new method could help scientists to study biological samples containing "dark molecules", which are invisible to today's advanced fluorescence microscopes.

Fluorescence microscopy is the technique of choice for obtaining high-resolution images of biological samples. It works by tagging molecules in the sample with fluorophores – molecules that emit light shortly after being illuminated with light of a shorter wavelength. However, some important biological molecules such as haemoglobin cannot be tagged in this way, rendering them invisible to such microcopes.

The new method is called stimulated emission microscopy and was developed at Harvard University by Wei Min, Sijia Lu, Sunney Xie and colleagues. It is a classic "pump-then-probe" measurement that involves firing two different laser pulses at the sample. Each pulse is about 200 femtoseconds long and the two are separated by less than a picosecond.

Energy from the first (pump) pulse is absorbed by a molecule of interest, placing it in an excited energy state. The energy of the photons in the second (probe) pulse is set at precisely the difference between the molecule's excited and ground states. This stimulates emission of photons from the excited molecules, which boosts the amplitude of the probe pulse by a factor of 1+10–4 to 1+10–8. Xie told that this is the same process involved in the production of laser light – in effect the molecules are acting as mini lasers. To extract this tiny signal, which is much smaller than noise in the probe laser, the team switched the train of pump pulses on and off at about 5 MHz and used a lock-in amplifier to eliminate low-frequency noise. An image can be built up in a matter of minutes by scanning the pulses across the sample and repeating the measurement.

By adjusting the energies of the pump and probe lasers, the Harvard group were able to image a number of biological samples containing hitherto dark molecules. They could, for example, see individual red blood cells in a sample of mouse tissue as well as measure the distribution of a certain drug in a similar sample

Modeling a black hole with a 300 GigaWatt laser

October 18, 2009: Black holes are famous for having a gravitational field that is so potent that light cannot escape its pull. But that same gravitational pull causes nearby matter to reach energies that results in a prodigious amount of radiation, from regular light up to X-rays and beyond. Researchers have attempted to model the behavior of matter as it gets drawn into accretion disks near a black hole in order to understand this radiation, but the conditions in these areas are difficult to reproduce on Earth. Now, a consortium of researchers from China, Japan, and Korea have figured out how to use a 300 GigaWatt laser to reproduce conditions near the accretion disk, and have successfully reproduced the spectrum observed near both black holes and neutron stars

Laser land-levelling project for farmers initiated

18 Oct, 2009: KARACHI: The Sindh agriculture department has initiated a Rs250 million project to provide laser land-levelling equipment to farmers on 50 per cent subsidy. The US-made laser unit is attached to tractors while tilling the land to produce uniform and plain soil surface that makes optimum use of soil and water.

The cost of a laser unit comes to Rs0.45 million, of which the farmer selected through balloting would have to pay Rs225,000 per set.

A progressive grower Anwer Bachani of Sindh Chamber of Agriculture told Dawn on Saturday that the laser land levelling equipment played wonders in increasing per acre yield of wheat to 70 maund against 30 to 40 maund achieved through manual levelling method

He said that the laser land levelling project was initiated in the past but was later abandoned and the present government has revived a good scheme. The laser land levelling eliminates high and low spots on the soil which generally cause salinity and water logging but brings uniformity in seed germination.

NPL Develops Femtosecond Laser Tech for Formation Space Flying

October 2, 2009: The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has helped determine that a femtosecond comb laser could be used to provide highly accurate measurement of absolute distance for missions in space that require formation flying. The NPL worked with the European Space Agency to determine that the lasers were suitable for the task. However, the accurate femtosecond lasers would allow the formation to know their relative position to each other by plotting positions relative to known stars and establish lateral positions by laser pointers. This would allow the craft to detect slight movements that would signal the discovery of a gravity wave.

The NPL reports that prototype systems will need to have uncertainty claims verified by national standards laboratories like NPL and meet other stringent requirements to become space ready.

Using Lasers to Map Bird Habitat

SEPTEMBER 29TH, 2009,: Lasers are providing scientists with new tools for mapping, protecting, and restoring bird habitat along rivers. In a paper published in the October issue of ecological applications, scientists from PRBO conservation science and the information center for the environment at uc Davis used aerial laser technology known as LIDAR (short for light detection and ranging) to predict where different bird species occur in the cosumnes river preserve in central California, u.s.a.

LIDAR data are generated using lasers mounted on an airplane that is flown over the study area. Sensors on the aircraft record the laser light that is reflected from the vegetation and the ground. These data are then used to develop detailed maps of the forest structure (for example, the height of the tallest trees). Scientists can then use their knowledge of what types of forest structure birds need to predict where birds will occur. With LIDAR, they can do this over large geographic areas more quickly and easily than with traditional methods.

Scientists have long known that many birds are often found in specific types of forest structure. In the past, these associations have been established by counting birds in areas where vegetation was painstakingly measured on the ground. "Using the LIDAR measurements of vegetation, we can predict where the birds will be over areas much too large to survey by foot," explains Dr. Nat Seavy, Terrestrial Ecologist Research Director at PRBO Conservation Science.

Maps of bird habitat help scientists understand what areas should be protected and what forest conditions are important for different bird species. "We want to make sure common birds stay common," says Dr. Chrissy Howell, an ecologist at PRBO Conservation Science. "This technique helps us identify areas to protect and understand how we can design restoration to create new habitat."


Washington, Sep 29, 2009 ,: Port wine stain, a vascular birthmark characterized by reddish to purplish discolorations of the skin, is now easy to wipe off through laser therapy. Three of every 1,000 children born have a port wine stain, which is made up of numerous dilated vessels in a localized part of the skin, and for most the skin discoloration has caused discomfort, embarrassment, and even pain.

One such individual is Maureen Dillon, who for 56 years was not able to go out in public with only one layer of makeup on, as the port wine stains became darker and brought more distress as years went by.

After dealing with blood vessel clusters and papules, swelling and infections, Dillon's family doctor sent her to see Dr. Jeffrey Orringer, director of the Cosmetic Dermatology and Laser Center at the University of Michigan Health System. Orringer used lasers that, over eight treatments, removed Dillon's port wine stains.

"There are lots of theories about why port wine stains develop, but the truth is that no one really knows why a child is born with a port wine stain," Orringer said.

Even though he cannot explain why Dillon or anyone else gets the vascular birthmark, he has good odds of making them better with the laser therapy: 75 percent to 80 percent of patients have their port wine stain lightened by at least 50 percent, and the mark disappears completely in 15 percent to 20 percent of patients.


September 27, 2009: Norfolk State University scientists are getting international attention for their part in developing the world's smallest laser. Norfolk State, in partnership with Cornell and Purdue, has worked on the project for the past three years, and physics professor Mikhail Noginov said future applications for the "spaser," as it's called, are "incredible."

The name "spaser" comes from the "sp" of surface plasmons replacing the "l" in the acronym that is "laser" - light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation. Spasers, which cannot be seen by the human eye, could produce significant medical advances by going where current technology cannot. Spasers also have possibilities in electronics, as they operate at frequencies thousands of times faster than present-day computers. The potential payoff for Norfolk State, being in the forefront, is just as strong. "The promises are so fantastic that the government is putting millions of dollars into it," Noginov said.

The science behind the spaser is complex. Noginov says it releases light similar to lasers - which most people can relate to, since they are used in a variety of items, such as CD players and dental drills. But spasers are a different animal, a new class of device that requires terms such as "nanoparticles," "gold cores," "dye molecules" and "surface plasmons."


September 25, 2009,: David Schwartz, who laid the foundation for MP3 with his undergraduate and graduate work in the '80s, has another big idea: a microphone that uses lasers and smoke to detect the minute variations in air pressure the rest of us call "sound."

His invention appears to be the world's first laser microphone, and it works by streaming smoke across a laser beam aimed at a "very, very fast and sensitive" photocell designed for fiber-optic networks. The photocell converts variations in the beam into electrical signal that carries the audio signal.


February 6, 2009,: The Environmental Sciences Division's Madhavi Martin has reinvented an old analytical method, finding some very new applications for the technology in the process. She uses laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy - a technique invented in the 1960s - to collect elemental fingerprints.

The LIBS method uses a focused laser to evaporate sample materials, breaking down all of the bonds and producing optical emissions of very specific wavelengths depending on the elements present within the sample.

"The wavelength emissions are the fingerprints of the elements in the sample," Madhavi says. "One advantage of the method is that I can analyze any kind of sample: liquid, solid, gas or aerosol."

She can analyze the environmental conditions experienced by a tree during its growth, pulling samples from each ring. Global climate change can be traced by looking at the elements present throughout the lifetime of a tree. Material from 100 years of tree growth takes her about 20 minutes to analyze and requires only a few thousand shots of the laser. Conventional wet-chemistry techniques take much longer and involve extracting and chopping up the wood samples from every ring to be analyzed.

"It's been exciting because the tools that we have now - better lasers, better instruments for detection - have revived the LIBS technology," she says.

People are using LIBS to look at all kinds of materials, but Madhavi is one of the few using it for environmental analysis.

Liquid mirror shows promise for adaptive optics

Jul 29, 2008,: A team of scientists in Canada have for the first time engineered a liquid mirror that changes shape according to an applied magnetic field. The group from the Centre of Optics, Photonics and Lasers at Laval University in Quebec believes that its deformable mirror could be used to compensate for distortion in the images of telescopes and other optical devices

Liquid mirrors are nothing new. The Large Zenith Telescope in Canada, for example, has a 6 m diameter mirror that is a rotating dish filled with mercury. As the mercury spins around, its profile forms a perfect parabola.

While such mirrors can be made large and essentially defect-free, they do have two important limitations: they can only point straight up; and the shape of the mirror cannot be adjusted dynamically. Dynamic adjustment is important because astronomers are keen on using adaptive optics systems that change the shape of the mirror to correct for aberration caused by the atmosphere.

BEAM COMBINING: High-power fiber-laser beams are combined incoherently

21 July, 2008,: Incoherently combining the beams from multiple high-power fiber lasers has a number of advantages over other beam-combining methods, and can result in compact, robust, low-maintenance and long-lifetime high-energy laser systems. In initial experiments, we have combined the beams from four lasers with a beam director consisting of individually controlled steering mirrors. We achieved propagation efficiencies greater than 90% at a kilometer in range, with a total power of 2.8 kW on a target with a 10 cm radius.

In an example that illustrates the essence of incoherent beam combining, the beams from a hexagonal array of seven fiber lasers are combined with a beam director of individually controlled steering mirrors. The individual fiber lasers have an initial spot size large enough so that diffractive spreading is not significant over the propagation range. For example, a straightforward calculation involving only diffraction shows that a Gaussian beam with a 4 cm spot size that is focused onto a target at a range of 5 km will have a spot size of only 4 cm on the target. Typically, atmospheric turbulence will cause more beam spreading than diffraction.

Incoherent beam combining of fiber lasers is readily scalable to higher total power levels. For multiple incoherently combined fiber lasers, the total transmitted power scales as the number of lasers, while the radius of the beam director scales as the square root of the number of lasers. A 500 kW laser system, for example, could consist of 100 fiber lasers (5 kW/fiber) and have a beam director radius of about 40 cm. Excluding the power supply, the fibers and pump diodes would occupy a volume of about 8 m3.

Lasers need lenses no more

29 July, 2008,: Focusing semiconductor lasers usually requires bulky optical lenses acting as a "collimator." Researchers have now demonstrated a plasmonic collimator that utilizes grooves etched directly into the semiconductor laser facet. If the technique is adopted -- Harvard University has applied for a patent on the process -- then semiconductor lasers can be downsized to a bare die without a lens. Eventually the team at Harvard and Hamamatsu Photonics (Hamamatsu City, Japan) hope to demonstrate electrically-controlled polarization of laser beams for use in spintronics and quantum computing. "The plasmonic collimator is applicable to all semiconductor lasers," claimed Harvard professor Federico Capasso. "This research opens up using plasmonic structures built on the laser facet to make any desired state of polarization -- the holy grail of spintronics and quantum information processing." A quantum cascade laser patterned with a plasmonic collimator reduces beam divergence, Harvard University and Japanese researchers found.

The current prototype used parallel line grooves that showed the technique could collimate a laser in the direction of the polarization of the laser. The researchers plan to etch concentric circular grooves in an attempt to fully collimate the laser beam in all directions.

Indian American bags global laser display award

30 March , 2008,: Kolkata: Colorado-based India born animation and laser artist Manick Sorcar beat 99 contenders worldwide to bag the prestigious International Laser Display Association (ILDA) 2007 Artistic Award for his entry "Reflection" in the category for best laser photography.

On March 27, the ILDA officially announced a list of the 2007 artistic award winners in their annual international laser display competition. Manick's company LaserLight Magic won the ILDA 2007 Artistic-Award for their entry "Reflection".

"Reflection is a scene from my forthcoming stage production. This was also my first entry in laser photography category," said Manick, who shot into fame in the early 1990s for his first animation mixed with live action "Deepa & Rupa: A Fairy Tale From India", which won the Gold Plaque at the Chicago International Film Festival.

Manick, an engineer by profession, is the first Indian-American to receive the prestigious ILDA Artistic-award twice.

Replacing Wire With Laser, Sun Tries to Speed Up Data

March 24, 2008 Now Sun Microsystems has found a way to reconnect the chips so they can communicate with each other at such high speeds that computer designers can build a new generation of computers that are faster, more energy-efficient and more compact.

Each chip would be able to communicate directly with every other chip in the array via a beam of laser light that could carry tens billions of bits of data a second.

A High Power Laser Zap to Nanotechnology

March 18, 2008 Scientists at the Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) of the University of Surrey and at the School of Chemistry in the University of Bristol have been awarded funding of nearly £0.87M from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to investigate techniques using high-power, short-pulsed lasers for the production of important nanomaterials, including nanoclusters, nanotubes and nanorods of carbon and zinc oxide, with controllable electrical and optical properties. These techniques, including pulsed laser deposition and laser annealing, are ideal research tools for rapid investigation of a wide variety of synthesis environments, which should enable a plethora of new technologically significant nanomaterials. This project will be highly synergistic, addressing the full range of challenges, from obtaining a fundamental understanding of the growth processes to producing physical, chemical and biological sensors based on the products.

"A focused short laser pulse can produce very extreme conditions, such as high temperatures and pressures, but only at the point of focus of the beam. We can use these conditions to generate highly energetic atoms and ions to drive a synthesis that would normally require the whole reaction to be performed in a high temperature furnace."

Scientist in Texas Runs NASA's Lunar Laser Program

14 November 2007 : Research scientist Jerry Wiant has traveled a lonesome highway in western Texas to the McDonald Observatory in the Fort Davis Mountains almost every morning for 38 years

The laser sends pulses of green light through a telescope, to four reflectors on the moon's surface. Wiant explains, "It hits the reflector that we are aiming at and then that reflector sends the light back."

Apollo 11 astronauts set up the first reflector when they made the first manned flight to the moon nearly 40 years ago. Subsequent Apollo mission's added two more reflectors, and an unmanned Russian mission sent a fourth.

The fact that we can lunar range [target moon reflector with laser] at all is just short of a miracle," said Wiant

The lunar laser provides data on gravity, tides and spreading land masses here on Earth. It has also showed that the moon is moving away from Earth 3.8 centimeters annually.

Laser System cuts up to 1.25 in. thick steel/.750 in. SS.

November 12, 2007: : Model FO4020NT 6,000 W laser features shuttle tables, automatic focal and assist gas control, and automatic nozzle changing device. Offering 3,150 ipm max X- and Y-axis speed and 2,362 ipm max Z-axis speed, system supports sheet sizes up to 80.7 x 160 in. with positioning accuracy of 0.0004 in./20 in. It includes X-axis dual drive rack and pinion gantry and Water Assisted Cutting System (WACS(TM)) with adjustable water mist to absorb heat generated by cutting process.

Japanese Team Invents Tiny Laser Light Powered Motor

November 28, 2007 : : A working motor powered only by laser light has been demonstrated by researchers at the International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan. Light-powered motors will work in areas with high magnetic fields unsuitable for conventional motors, such as such as MRI medical scanners.

The prototype laser-powered motor features a copper disc with a hole in the middle - much like a very tiny washer. When green laser light with a wavelength of precisely 532 nanometers is fired at the disk, the metal heats up and expands.

The result of this rapid expansion is that a series of tiny, fast-moving elastic waves move across the surface of the disk in a circular motion around the ring's center of the ring. By mounting the disc on a spindle, it will begin to rotate much like a conventional motor.


CINCINNATI (AP) : The Cincinnati Bengals turned to laser pointers Monday night in another effort to shoo pigeons that have been pooping on fans at Paul Brown Stadium.

Employees were to aim hand-held laser pens at the pigeons during the Bengals' game with the New England Patriots. The birds have been roosting in the stadium rafters, and fans at earlier games had complained about the droppings getting into their food and drinks.

The Bengals hope the pigeons will become so irritated by the lasers that they'll fly away from the beams and pipes above the stands, team spokesman Jack Brennan said. Team employees have used the laser pointers before but with only limited success, he said.

All that glitter is tech

1 Oct, 2007: Mehul Choksi, chairman of the Mumbai-based Gitanjali group, recently procured a new machine ,which has changed the way gold jewellery is retailed.

"It uses a computer programme, which assists our customers to design jewellery for themselves or make changes in the existing designs that can be replicated by us," Choksi says. As India's top jeweller, he can't take a chance. The demand for gems and jewellery is growing at a fast pace and anyone who is technologically-challenged is likely to lose out.

Laser machines, which are now used at every gems and jewellery factory, have been put to an "innovative" use at Ace Jewels. Says Nanavati, "Normally there is one laser machine or laser head and one workstation. But with the help of the machine manufacturer we have worked out a system where there is one laser head but three work stations at Ace Jewels, resulting in the increased capacity at marginally higher cost." This arrangement also helps save electricity.

Brookhaven Lab Physicist Ilan Ben-Zvi Wins Free Electron Laser Prize

September 27th, 2007: Ilan Ben-Zvi, a physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, has won the 2007 Free Electron Laser (FEL) Prize along with James Rosenzweig of the University of California-Los Angeles. Sponsored by the International Free Electron Laser Conference, which was held this year in Novosibirsk, Russia, the prize consists of an award citation, a plaque, and approximately $2,500 for each recipient.

Ben-Zvi's work leading to the FEL Prize included two facets of FEL technology. First, he developed laser-photocathode radiofrequency guns that provide record brightness to laser beams. These devices produce highly concentrated bursts of electrons and accelerate them to nearly the speed of light, making possible such facilities as the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at DOE's Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. The LCLS is a free electron laser that combines laser-like x-ray beams with extreme brightness, short wavelengths, and short electron pulse duration - important features for studying materials on the atomic scale, including light-induced structural changes on time scales of a quadrillionth of a second. This will allow scientists a glimpse on a time scale never before possible and open untold opportunities for understanding catalysis, chemical processes, and molecular assembly.


September 24, 2007,: A new and powerful technique that can detect hidden liquid explosives through common plastic containers and glass bottles has been demonstrated by scientists from STFC's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL). The research is being reported in the latest issue of Analytical Chemistry.

The scientific paper, "Non-invasive Detection of Concealed Liquid Explosives using Raman Spectroscopy," by Charlotte Eliasson, Neil Macleod, and Pavel Matousek, reports on the successful application of a recently developed measurement technique using lasers that applies a novel approach to a conventional, trusted method for identifying materials. Spatially offset Raman spectroscopy' (SORS) was originally developed for medical and pharmaceutical applications but has now been demonstrated to work in security applications. The technique, which can be implemented using a hand-held probe, produces chemical information on liquids contained in transparent and diffuse plastic containers, including those made from colored materials

Solar Converted to Laser Light

TOKYO, Sept. 10, 2007 : Osaka University and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are developing a way to convert sunlight into laser light, Japan's Nikkei news service has reported. The technology reportedly will boost the design of solar power systems that will one day collect sunlight in space and convert it to laser energy, then to electricity for our use on Earth.

The new device converts sunlight with an efficiency four times greater than previous attempts, Nikkei reported. Sunlight is collected and kept as energy in a plate made of a sintered powder of metals such as chromium and neodymium, it said.

If weak laser light hits the plate, the energy already kept in the plate is transferred to the laser light and boosts its strength. Using a 0.5-W laser, the power was able to be amplified to 180 W.

Previous attempts to convert solar to laser light energy have yielded about a 10-percent transfer rate. The new technology converted 40 percent of solar energy, Nikkei said.


August 06, 2007: The Osaka University Institute of Laser Engineering in collaboration with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency are soon to launch a new space-based laser system for the purpose of energy generation.

The neodymium and chromium plates can beam sunlight down to the surface using lasers with an efficiency of 42 percent. A ground station can convert the beams into electricity.

The system would allow energy to be generated around the clock. By 2030 scientists believe that they could generate as much energy as a 1-gigawatt nuclear power station using 100-200m collectors.

Laser-based analyzer gives ultra fast and accurate measurement of trace moisture

August 06, 2007: To users of high-purity bulk nitrogen, hydrogen, dry air or other specialty gases, it is critical to stable operations that those gases are free of contaminants such as moisture. Specifications for maximum moisture allowed are often as low as the parts-per-million and even parts-per-billion levels.

Although electrochemical devices may perform with acceptable accuracy at first, the confidence level in their measurements soon becomes low, due to drift, the inability to read high concentrations of moisture. There is a tendency for those sensor probes to become desensitized by the gas streams they are measuring.

Specialty gas manufacturers must certify the contents in ppm or ppb to their customers. This is why reliability of measurement is so important.

Now a new H2O moisture and analyzer technology is available that employs tunable laser diode (TDL) spectroscopy to provide highly accurate and virtually instantaneous measurements of trace amounts of a particular gas (H2O in this instance). By its nature, the TDL based gas detection method is not susceptible to aging affects, making its factory calibration a timeless constant. The result is a very low maintenance analyzer that does not require consumables or scheduled calibration.

Developed by SpectraSensors (Rancho Cucamonga, CA), TDL-based analyzers have revolutionized the measurement of gases in petrochemical streams such as natural gas. The technology employs a simple measurement that uses a fundamental principle: Molecules vibrate when excited by light at specific wavelengths. Therefore, if you can detect how much light is absorbed at these wavelengths, you can precisely measure the concentration of a given gas.

The system consists of a cell that the sample gas flows through, a tunable laser diode that emits a specific wavelength of light through the gas, an optical detector, and software to analyze and output the results.

Dancing atoms hold prospect of superfast computing

Chicago, July 26, 2007: Suspended in laser light, thousands of atoms pair up and dance, each moving in perfect counterpoint to its partner.

They are the building blocks of what may one day become an enormously powerful quantum computer capable of solving in seconds problems that take today's fastest machines.

Porto and colleagues have coaxed pairs of super-cold rubidium atoms to repeatedly swap positions, a feat that could make them useful for storing and processing data in quantum computers.

Porto's team isolated pairs of atoms in a lattice of light formed by six laser beams all fixed on one point, suspending the atoms in a uniform pattern. "There is no container. It is levitated by the laser beams."

They trapped these pairs in wells or dips formed by ripples in the light. When forced together in tight spaces, the atom pairs began to oscillate between zero and one, passing in and out of a state of entanglement.


SCOTS scientists are on the verge of producing a laser, which could detect liquid bombs at airports. Makers claim the highly sensitive equipment could even sense traces of explosives on tickets handled by terrorists.

Security staff at transport terminals could have the technology within two years - but only if the project gets £5million Government backing.

The firm behind the design, Stirling's Cascade Technologies, said the sensors would have been able to pick up the explosives would-be terrorists are thought to have tried to take on Heathrow flights. Cascade chief executive John Fuller said: "As part of a Government trial, the equipment was tasked to detect small amounts of nitro-glycerine. Not only did the sensors pick it up, they detected minute traces of the compound on the outer packaging."

Laser system offers cheaper, faster pathogen detection

A pathogen detecting system that uses scattered laser light can cut costs and speed up safety checks for food processors, researchers developing the technology claim.

The machine bounces particles of light, called photons, off of a bacterial colony. The pattern of scattered light is projected onto a screen behind the petri dish.

The "light-scatter pattern" is recorded with a digital camera and analyzed with sophisticated software to identify the types of bacteria growing in the colonies.

Laser Based Thermometer (Red hot gadget)

Laser-sighted gun tells temperature of surfaces. It uses the infrared band of the light spectrum. Tools designed to do so use a lens to take readings of the infrared energy being emitted from the surface of an object.

Non-contact IR thermometers are helpful in industry to measure extremely hot temperatures, moving objects or objects that are too dangerous or cumbersome to reach.

Sears has a hand-held Craftsman model with a laser pointer (about $60) that runs off two AAA batteries. It's supposed to give a fairly accurate measure up to six feet away. It will read temperatures from minus 58 to 518 degrees. There's only one thing I didn't like about it — it looked more like a calculator than a ray gun. has a pistol-style consumer model for $75 that sports a temperature range from minus 75 degrees to 1,000 degrees.

Raytek has numerous pistol-type infrared thermometers, including several for use around the house. The MiniTemp MT-6 costs $99 and has an accuracy of plus or minus 3 degrees for temperatures between minus 20 and 932 degrees.

Free Electron Laser Achieves 10 Kilowatts of Infrared Laser Light

The Free-Electron Laser (FEL), supported by the Naval Research and located at the U.S. Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, achieved 10 kilowatts of infrared laser light in late July, making it the most powerful tunable laser in the world. The recently upgraded laser's new capabilities will enhance defense and manufacturing technologies, and support advanced studies of chemistry, physics, biology, and more.

What's New in Laser Optics Could Lead to Light Bullets

Now a team of physicists, mathematicians, and electrical engineers from the California Institute of Technology and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst has figured out a trick to keep light pulses from diverging or focusing. Using a multi-layer sandwich of glass plates alternating with air, the scientists have provided the first experimental demonstration of a procedure called "nonlinearity management". This technique wouldn't do anything for light traveling all the way to the moon, but could be useful in future generations of devices involving optical switching and optical information processing, for which precise control of laser pulses will be advantageous.

Reporting in the July 21, 2006, issue of Physical Review Letters, the researchers demonstrate that a laser beam passing through multiple layers of glass and air can be made to last much longer than if it had passed through only one type of medium. This procedure exploits a phenomenon known as the "Kerr effect," which causes the refractive index of an individual material to change if the light energy is sufficiently intense.

When light is propagated only through glass, one obtains a focused beam so intense that it generates a plasma in the medium, stripping away its electrons. Using a multi-layer "Kerr sandwich" of light and air, however, keeps the plasma from being created because the different refractive indices of the media cause the light beam to diverge and converge several times.

"The idea is for the beam size on average to stay constant," says team member Mason Porter, a postdoctoral scholar in Caltech's Center for the Physics of Information.

The experimental setup was the work of Martin Centurion, also a postdoctoral researcher in the Center for the Physics of Information. According to Centurion, the laboratory apparatus consists of nine normal microscope slides, each about one millimeter thick, that are aligned parallel to each other at one-millimeter spacings. An intense femtosecond laser pulse is sent into the slides, and the pulse converges while in the glass medium, but then diverges again while traversing through air. The end result is a beam that is the same diameter when it emerges from the apparatus as it was when it entered, although it is slightly weaker due to reflection of a fraction of the energy at each interface.

"This is focusing in space," Porter says. "If you could combine both space and time, you'd have a 'light bullet' - that is, a pulse that stays the same all the time."

The title of the paper is "Nonlinearity Management in Optics: Experiment, Theory, and Simulation."

SDSU professor uses laser beam to study forest conditions (LIDAR),5267

From the back of a van, a green laser shoots out from a black box. The beam travels through the air and shines on a tree hundreds of meters away.

Only this isn't a science-fiction thriller, it's called lidar. And that laser beam may one day help prevent forest fires, said Songxin Tan, assistant professor of electrical engineering at South Dakota State University and one of the scientists working with the new technology.

Tan uses lidar, or light detection and ranging, to collect data on plants and trees.

Tan began working with lidar while earning his doctorate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. There, he and his advisor, Ram Narayanan, worked with a NASA system called ALPS, or Airborne Laser Polarimetric Sensor, which had been donated to UNL. Later, they developed the Multiwavelength Airborne Polarimetric Lidar, or MAPL, designed primarily for vegetation applications. The system was part of a million dollar airborne remote sensing project at UNL, Tan said.

To gather data, the MAPL uses two different wavelengths of light, a green laser and another laser in the nearly infrared wavelength not visible to the human eye, said Tan. The MAPL shoots the laser towards an object, such as a single tree or an entire forest. The waves bounce back from the vegetation, and the MAPL's sensors collect the return signal. The way the waveform backscatters after hitting an object provides clues about the object's characteristics such as roughness and reflectance


Updated: 6 April, 2015