NPL, Imperial College create room-temperature maser, promise more sensitive beams

NPL, Imperial College London develop roomtemperature maser, promise more precise beams of light

Masers, or microwave lasers, have rarely been as viable as their regular counterparts; they need temperatures near absolute zero, exotic vacuum chambers or strong magnets just to run at all, which safely rules out carrying a maser as a pocket pointer. The National Physical Laboratory and Imperial College London might put that gap in practicality to bed after developing a maser that can run at room temperatures. Instead of using ruby to boost the microwave strength, the scientists rely on a less pronounceable p-terphenyl crystal treated with pentacene that can handle ordinary amounts of heat. There's still much work left in refining the technology: it has yet to stay active for sustained periods, only works in a narrow bandwidth and chews through an ample amount of power. Once it's given the appropriate polish, however, the extra sensitivity of the improved maser could be a boon for medical scanning, bomb disposal or even future space communication that could punch through the atmosphere.