We all know that the addition of lasers automatically makes anything look 100% more awesome, but scientists have figured out how to use them make musical instruments sound better too.
Researchers have set a new record for data transfer speeds using a single laser, shooting some data around at an absolutely insane 26 terabits per second.
It's the anniversary of the laser, that amazing little bit of technology that can burn your eyes out while enabling everything from CDs to LIDAR. The very first laser was invented by a physicist named Theodore Maiman, who used a synthetic ruby crystal to produce pulsed red laser light 51 years ago today. We've come a long and dangerous way since then, and in the gallery below, check out some of the many ways that beams of coherent light can be used to do amazing things.
The European Commission has approved the construction of three gigantic new research lasers, with the option for a fourth that would, for an instant, be several hundred times more powerful than the entirety of the power generated by our civilization. The hope is that this will be enough energy to actually conjure virtual particles out of nothingness.
Spark plugs have been around for a long time — 150 years or so. But vehicles may soon upgrade to a more modern tech for their engine-starting needs: lasers.
The Navy recently showed off a weapons-grade laser that could torch a small boat, and it looks like the Air Force got a serious case of beam weapon envy. It's now soliciting proposals for a sensor-frying laser cannon that could be mounted on an aircraft.
It may not be cutting through a mile of solid steel every few seconds, but the Navy has demonstrated the ability of its solid state laser to disable small boats in a live test.
Being able to hear is a natural gift nearly everyone takes for granted, except the deaf. Researchers at the University of Utah have discovered that lasers might be the solution to deafness.
Rogue space junk poses a serious threat to both manned and unmanned spacecraft, since it just takes one wayward screw or fleck of paint to potentially punch a hole in some critical system. NASA has considered everything from balloons to sails to help mitigate the problem, and now the agency is thinking about a laser.
Tractor beams are one of those sci-fi staples that, when you get right down to it, are actually pretty hard to wrap your head around: it's a force that projects outward, and yet it pulls an object inward. Crazy as it is, Chinese researchers may have just figured out how to do just that.