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Yale scientists build 'anti-laser'

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
New Haven, Conn. (UPI) Feb 17, 2011
U.S. researchers have announced the development of the world's first "anti-laser," a device that can absorb and cancel out a laser beam.

Scientists at Yale University say the silicon-based device can absorb an incoming laser beam entirely, converting its light to heat energy, the BBC reported Thursday. The technology could lead to a new generation of supercomputers using light rather than electrons, the researchers say.

The anti-laser device can focus two laser beams of a specific frequency into an optical cavity made from silicon, trapping the incoming beams of light and causing them to bounce around until all their energy is dissipated in the form of heat.

Changing the wavelength of the incoming light switches the anti-laser on and off, creating an optical switch that could be the basis of a very fast optically-based computer.

Using silicon to create the anti-laser means optical components could be manufactured using current technology, researchers say, since the material is already widely used in computing.

One thing the anti-laser will not do is create a "shield" against a high-power laser weapon, the researchers say.

"The energy gets dissipated as heat," Yale professor Douglas Stone says. "So if someone sets a laser on you with enough power to fry you, the anti-laser won't stop you from frying."

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