Whoa – a laser story that doesn’t involve someone mounting a man-killing laser on top of some kind of vehicle?! Â SAY IT AIN’T SO!
Professor Douglas Stone and his team of Yale scientists have discovered a way to get material to nearly completely absorb laser light. Â They’ve developed this thing – more of a material, really – called a CPA, or Coherent Perfect Absorber. Â What it seems the team has done is to take the Law of Conservation of Energy and used it to their advantage. Â Do we all remember the Law of Conservation of Energy?
Energy can not be created or destroyed – it can only change form.
So what the scientists have done here, in layman’s terms, is that they’ve figured out a way to get laser light to basically be absorbed into a medium by waiting until that laser light bounces around this little silicon chamber until its energy changes forms to heat energy. Â Stone and his team used a silicon structure to basically take beams of laser light and capture them in this silicon medium until they change form to heat energy. Â Right now his team says that they can capture 99.4% of the light through absorption, but their Coherent Perfect Absorber will potentially be able to capture 99.99% of the laser light shone into the CPA.
Why this is significant is that silicon is already being used in the semiconductor industry in computers – this new technology from Yale and Douglas Stone’s team has potentially many, many uses in computing – the hope is that they’ll be able to use these tech as a way to make microswitches and other types of computer components. Â Hey, using light instead of electrons? Â Awesome!