Amazing Laser Application 4: Optical Tweezers!

What’s the application? Optical tweezers use focused light beams to trap small particles in the focus of the beam, and drag them around by moving the beam. What problem(s) is it the solution to? 1) “How do we move these tiny little things around without touching them?” 2) “How do we measure the forces exerted […]

Amazing Laser Application 2: Laser Cooling!

What’s the application? Using lasers to reduce the speed of a sample of atoms, thereby reducing their temperature to a tiny fraction of a degree above absolute zero. What problem(s) is it the solution to? 1) “How can I make this sample of atoms move slowly enough to measure their properties very accurately?” 2) “How […]

Amazing Laser Application 1: Light Show!

What’s the application? The use of lasers to provide an entertaining light show for humans, dogs, or cats. What problem(s) is it the solution to? 1) “How will I entertain my dog or cat?” 2) “How can we distract people from the fact that Roger Daltrey has no voice left?”

Laser Smackdown: The Finalists

A couple of weeks ago, I announced a contest to determine the Most Amazing Laser Application. After a follow-up post listing the likely candidates, we have a final list of candidate applications, an even dozen of them (after consolidating some related topics): Cat toy/ dog toy/ laser light show Laser cooling/ BEC Laser ranging/position measurement […]

Subtracting Photons from Arbitrary Light Fields

There’s been a fair bit of press for the article Subtracting photons from arbitrary light fields: experimental test of coherent state invariance by single-photon annihilation, published last month in the New Journal of Physics, much of it in roughly the same form as the news story in Physics World (which is published by the same […]