Chinese scientists have learned to draw in the air with a laser

(ORDO NEWS) — In a recent demonstration at the Hongtuo Joint Laboratory for Superfast Lasers in the Valley of Optics in Wuhan, Chinese scientists used a super-powerful laser to create symbols in the air that could be seen from any angle and could be “touched” with their hands.

The inscriptions were created in clean air, while previous experiments required saturating the space in front of the laser with dust or water vapor. Nobody in the world has ever shown anything like it.

Despite the unusual nature of the experiment, there is nothing magical about it. Super-powerful, but very short in time, laser pulses ionize the molecules of the atmospheric gas mixture and turn them into plasma, followed by a glow effect.

Another thing is that focusing a laser in space with such accuracy is not an easy task. The developers did not give clear instructions on how to repeat such an experiment, but suggested that this requires 3D scanners that would direct the laser to the desired points in space.

The duration of each laser pulse is several femtoseconds. In this case, the peak power of each pulse reaches millions of megawatts of energy. But since the pulses are ultrashort, the average laser power consumption is only a few tens of watts.

“With the new device, we can draw in the air without using paper and ink,” said Cao Xiangdong, lead scientist at the lab, in an interview with Science and Technology Daily.

The scientist continued that increasing the accuracy of laser control will allow creating full-color and bright images in the air.

At the same time, researchers hope to use the development in other areas: in precision manufacturing, in the study of the human brain, in quantum computers and in other advanced areas of science.


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