This phaser is a laser Jim, but not a laser as we know it

Wednesday, 27 March, 2013

Laser, or energy guns, called phasers, were often carried by the starship crews seen in sci-fi TV/film series “Star Trek”, and now it looks like we’ve finally caught up following the arrival of an actual phaser. The purpose, and more crucially, the way these phasers work, somewhat differs from what we’ve seen up until now however:

Using a nanoscale drum, scientists have built a laser that uses sound waves instead of light like a conventional laser. Because laser is an acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation,” these new contraptions – which exploit particles of sound called phonons – should properly be called phasers. Such devices could one day be used in ultrasound medical imaging, computer parts, high-precision measurements, and many other places.

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