are fine, durable and reliable and all that, but what if you want something a little softer, maybe a little more conforming to your needs and moods? Or, what if you want something that can beam light in all directions at once
? Then you need to go liquid, baby, liquid. That's what Slovenian scientists (and diacritic wunderkinds) Matjaž Humar and Igor Muševič have done, creating, in their words, "3D microlasers from self-assembled cholesteric liquid-crystal microdroplets." Various layers of fluids form what's called a Bragg-onion optical microcavity, including embedded crystals not unlike those that flip the tiny switches in an LCD
. These blobs are self-assembled chemically and, when a little laser is applied to them, can create a 3D image by shining their light in every dimension simultaneously. Well, not every
one -- you know the Fifth Dimension can only be seen if you let the sunshine in.