As the golden anniversary of the announcement of the first laser approaches on July 7th, Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine, takes a special look at the past, present, and exciting future of this amazing invention.
C&EN Senior Editor Mitch Jacoby and Assistant Editor Lauren Wolf point out that the laser has come a long way since it was first demonstrated in 1960 by Theodore Maiman. Although few people at the time could have envisioned how the device would be used, he accurately predicted that lasers would impact diverse areas ranging from industry to science. Today, the laser has become a "workhorse tool" in modern chemistry. Scientists now use it to study climate change, ultrafast chemical reactions, and disease-related proteins. Researchers are also using lasers to see inside living cells.
More advances are on the way. Scientists are developing a laser-based system for remotely detecting nerve agents and other harmful chemical and biological warfare agents. Others are developing a laser-based medical instrument that could allow earlier detection of hard-to-diagnose diseases such as lung and bladder cancers. Only time will tell what the next 50 years will bring, the article notes.
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Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
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Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
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