The Physics arXiv Blog

January 7, 2013

Physicists Demonstrate First Laser Made From a Cloud of Gas

Clouds that lase are the first Earth-based versions of lasers that occur naturally in space, say researchers

Since the 1960s, astronomers have spotted numerous sources of intense optical and microwave light at specific frequencies. These sources first puzzled astronomers but it soon became clear that the light was being generated by naturally occurring lasers (or masers for microwaves).

It turns out that in certain circumstances the very atmospheres of stars and planets can lase, generating light in the same way as the lasers we use inside CD players and laser pointers.

These naturally-occurring lasers have puzzled astronomers for many years because they appear to occur in dilute gases made up of random atoms. Today, Robin Kaiser and pals at the Institut Non Linéaire de Nice in Southern France say they have created lasers that work in the same for the first time on Earth.

Read more: Physicists Demonstrate First Laser Made From a Cloud of Gas | MIT Technology Review.

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