Laser Pointer Can Chill Stuff Super Fast 

Additional Details

Laser Pointer Can Chill Stuff Super Fast

Need to cool something extra-fast? New research suggests that lasers might do the trick.

Physicists proposed the idea of laser pointer 200mw cooling 30 years ago, but until now, experiments had been largely unsuccessful and only worked with low-pressure gases. Now, German researchers have shown that bombarding high-pressure gas with a laser can produce dramatic cooling, dropping the temperature as much as 66 degrees Celsius (about 119 degrees Fahrenheit) in a matter of seconds.

The researchers say laser cooling of dense gases could work as a new kind of refrigeration, and might even be able to achieve temperatures close to absolute zero. They reported their findings Wednesday in Nature.

Laser cooling works because zapping gas molecules with the right kind of laser pointer 300mw excites electrons into higher-than-normal orbits. “In this process the electron orbits of the particles ‘bend,'” physicist Martin Weitz of the University of Bonn said in a press release. “At the time of the collision, you therefore need less energy than normal in order to vault the electron into a high orbit.”

Once the collision is over, the orbits return to their normal shape, and electrons have to absorb energy to stay in the new higher orbit. As electrons soak up extra energy, gas particles slow down and the temperature drops.

And what’s the point of all this fancy physics? Super-fast refrigeration can create “supercooled” gases, which stay in a gaseous state at temperatures that would normally turn them into liquid. Scientists who study matter are fascinated by the unusual properties of supercooled materials, while food scientists have used supercooling to make shinier chocolate and extra-pure vodka.

The researchers say there’s also an important benefit for the rest of us: Say hello to the laser-cooled mini fridge.

The pentagon this week edged closer to mounting missile-destroying lasers on unmanned and manned aircraft, awarding $26 million to defense contractors to develop the technology.

Under the name Project Endurance, DARPA, the Department of Defense’s research agency, awarded Northrop Grumman $14.6 million and Lockheed Martin $11.4 million in contracts for the effort, according to Military & Aerospace Electronics. Called “Project Endurance,” the research will “develop technology for pod-mounted lasers to protect a variety of airborne platforms from emerging and legacy electro-optical IR guided surface-to-air missiles,” according to DARPA’s 2014 budget request.

The project focuses on “miniaturizing component technologies, developing high-precision target tracking, identification, and lightweight agile beam control to support target engagement,” as well as “the phenomenology of laser pointer-target interactions and associated threat vulnerabilities.”

Those vulnerabilities have been a particular concern when it comes to slow-moving drones, whose job it is to loiter more than it is to evade, making them a potential easy target to be shot out of the sky.

In 2011, Iran claimed to have struck a RQ-170 Sentinel drone. Although the U.S. initially insisted the report was false, officials later acknowledged a drone had gone missing.

“We’ve asked for it back. We’ll see how the Iranians respond,” Obama said in a December 2011 press conference. However, a top Iranian military official said it had no intention of returning it.

“No nation welcomes other countries’ spy drones in its territory, and no one sends back the spying equipment and its information back to the country of origin,” Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy commander of Iran’s military, told the semi-official Fars news agency, calling it “an act of invasion and belligerence.”

The researchers say high watt laser pointer cooling of dense gases could work as a new kind of refrigeration, and might even be able to achieve temperatures close to absolute zero. They reported their findings Wednesday in Nature.

Asked in Books & Authors - 402 days ago

Tags: Laser Pointer Can Chill Stuff Super Fast 

Answer now
Report abuse
Rate this : 0 0

Ask a Question

Ask now


© 2013 HubFora Ask Questions. Get Answers. All rights reserved. Powered by Answer Script