The lightsaber is possible?
2013 scientists have created a completely new form of laser light. The light formed solid molecules in an experiment – as with the laser sword (lightsaber) from the „Star Wars” series. The discovery was made by scientist Mikhail Lukin of Harvard University and his colleague Vladan Vuletic from MIT after they shot photons through a cloud of rubidium atoms. As the photons entered the cloud of cold atoms, they slowed to such an extent that their density greatly increased. Extremely cold matter, as in the experiment with rubidium atoms, strengthens the effect. The light is slowed down so much that its state of aggregation changes – and becomes firm. The physicists are still at the very beginning with their investigations of the phenomenon, but the “Star Wars” gadget is not impossible anymore.
The invisible light
You can not see a laser in outer space like it is shown in films because you can only see light if it is spread. Somehow the radiation must come into your eyes, and it can only do so if it is somehow „pushed out” of its actual direction. In the air, the laser is scattered either on dust particles or air molecules. There is not only a scatter, but various types such as Rayleigh, Raman, Mistral etc. Where there are no particles that disturb (= distract) the spread of the radiation, you will not see a ray – not even if it had several pent watts.
American star wars
At the height of the so-called Cold War, US President Ronald Reagan wanted to install a laser gun belt in space to shoot down enemy intercontinental ballistic missiles. He called it S.D.I, translated means the „Strategic Defence Initiative„. It was in 1986 and rumors say that it was one of the reasons why the Soviets ended the Cold War.
The smart munition
The response of the US Armed Forces to their partial inferiority in the asymmetric Afghan war will be a weapon upgraded with digitally high tech. The new wonder weapon is a grenade launcher in rifle format, which can practically shoot around the corner, precisely to a half kilometre distance. Target acquisition and projectile programming are carried out in just a few simple steps with the press of a button. The programmed special ammunition then flies exactly to the laser-targeted aim to explode just above or next to the opponent covered behind a wall, house or corner. Such the weapon targeting system is not only used for grenade launchers, but also for rifles and guns.
The laser rifle
Chinese scientists have developed a production-ready laser assault rifle with a range of around 800 meters. With the so-called ZKZM-500 a single charge about 2,000 shots can be fired. Not only China has been researching laser weapons for years, but also other nations, especially the USA, want to focus more on laser weapons in the future. The U.S.A. themselves use or test laser weapons previously installed on ships to launch aircraft or armed autonomous and remote-guided drones.
The laser broom
Currently, about 600,000 objects larger than one centimeter are flying around the Earth orbit, threatening the International Space Station (ISS) and countless satellites. Unscheduled course corrections become more frequent and consume valuable fuel. The German Aerospace Centre (DLR) is currently testing a laser that allows precise location of objects in the sky. The long-term goal is to create a laser that changes the orbit of space debris so that it crashes to the ground and burns up when it enters the atmosphere.
It is one of the greatest goals of the 21st century to chase scientists, physicists, technicians, and engineers around the world: to build a burning fusion reactor that provides power to millions of people, modeled on the stars. Now, an experiment has achieved an important milestone. Scientists heated a sample of deuterium and tritium with laser beams so abruptly that nuclear fusion occurred inside the sample container. The first time more energy was released by the merger, as the fuel has previously recorded.
The Astronomic pointer
Some stars observers use a green laser pointer (based on RGB laser module) as a finder. However, it does not replace the standard finder for one reason: You cannot see stars in it and look through it to mark the way to the object. It’s just the kind of pointer that is used for example for the presentation by people. However, the green laser gives a very nice effect because the radius is entirely visible.
Marker for alien civilizations
If there is another form of intelligence somewhere in our galaxy, the Earth laser technology could, in principle, be shaped into something resembling a planetary light from a porch – a lantern strong enough to attract attention from up to 20,000 light years away. The discovery suggests that if a high-energy 1-2 megawatts laser was focused by a huge 30-45-meter telescope and directed into space, it would produce a beam of infrared radiation strong enough to stand out against the sun’s energy and could attract alien astronomers.
PS. More curiosities about lasers you can find here.