Chemical Bonds On-Demand

PhysRevLett.114.233003

Tailored laser pulse controls the formation of a molecular bond between two atoms.
Image: Christiane Koch

Until now, the idea of controlling reactions with the light from lasers was only theoretical. However, new research shows that a laser pulse has the ability to control the formation of a molecular bond between two atoms.

Due to this new development, researchers can now control the path of the chemical process with extreme precision.

This from APS Physics:

For the first time, researchers demonstrate the coherent control of the reaction by which two atoms form a molecule. The achievement—coupled with other photocatalyst tools—could potentially lead to a chemical assembly line, in which lasers slice and weld molecular pieces into a desired end product.

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First Ever Liquid Nanoscale Laser

The laser also has the potential to be used in optical data storage and lithography.Image: Nature Communications

The laser also has the potential to be used in optical data storage and lithography.
Image: Nature Communications

Former ECS member Teri Odom has assisted in the development of the first ever liquid nanoscale laser. This development could lead to some very practical applications, as well as guiding researchers one step closer to developing a “lab on a chip” for medical diagnostics.

The laser is relatively simple to create, cheap to produce, and has the ability to operate at room temperature. Because the device works in real time, users can quickly and simply produce different colors.

This from Science World Report:

The laser’s cavity itself is made up of an array of reflective gold nanoparticles where the light is concentrated around each nanoparticle and then amplified. In contrast to conventional laser cavities, no mirrors are required for the light to bounce back and forth. As the laser color is tuned the nanoparticle cavity stays fixed and does not change.

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ATHENA burned through the truck engine in a matter of seconds from more than a mile away.Image: Lockheed Martin

ATHENA burned through the truck engine in a matter of seconds from more than a mile away.
Image: Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin has been making headlines recently in light of their development of novel compact fusion reactors. Now, the company is back in the spotlight due to their new high-powered laser.

They’re calling the laser ATHENA (Advanced Test High Energy Asset). In a recent test, the direct energy weapson was able to burn through a truck’s engine from a mile away in less than one minute.

“Fiber-optic lasers are revolutionizing directed energy systems,” said Keoki Jackson, Lockheed Martin chief technology officer. “We are investing in every component of the system – from the optics and beam control to the laser itself – to drive size, weight and power efficiencies. This test represents the next step to providing lightweight and rugged laser weapon systems for military aircraft, helicopters, ships and trucks.”

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Professor Chunlei Guo has developed a technique that uses lasers to render materials hydrophobic, illustrated in this image of a water droplet bouncing off a treated sample.Photo: J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester

Professor Chunlei Guo has developed a technique that uses lasers to render materials hydrophobic, illustrated in this image of a water droplet bouncing off a treated sample.
Photo: J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester

New super-hydrophobic metals developed at the University of Rochester could mean big things for solar innovation and sanitation initiatives.

The researchers, led by Professor Chunlei Guo, have developed a technique that uses lasers to render materials extremely water repellant, thus resulting in rust-free metals.

Professor Guo’s research in novel not in the sense that he and his team are creating water resistant materials, instead they are creating a new way to develop these super-hydrophobic materials by taking away reliance on chemical coatings and shifting to laser technology.

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Life’s First Spark Re-Created

A recently conducted experiment may give us a better understanding of how the Earth possibly began.

Scientists took to the lab with a powerful 500-foot laser to re-create what might have been the original spark of life on Earth.

This from Associated Press:

The researchers zapped clay and a chemical soup with the laser to simulate the energy of a speeding asteroid smashing into the planet. They ended up creating what can be considered crucial pieces of the building blocks of life.

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