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Ray guns are high on the list of "physics gone wrong" movie tropes. Unlike the real thing, the blasts are much slower than light, visible in clear air and (depending on who's firing) highly inaccurate. However, laser physicists in Poland have just shown what a powerful laser really looks like. Tho...

October 23rd 2014 at 9:20am 0 Comments
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Intrepid 6-wheeler Curiosity perhaps protested too much when it tweeted "Yes, I've got a laser beam attached to my head. I'm not ill tempered; I zapped a rock for science." NASA turned the rover's high-powered laser loose with 30 pulses of a million watts each, reducing a thin layer of the chosen...

August 20th 2012 at 11:06am 0 Comments
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Wanna create your very own microscopic steam engine? Just take a colloid particle, put it in water, and add a laser. That's a CliffsNotes version of what a group of German researchers recently did to create the world's smallest steam engine. To pull it off, engineers from the University of Stut...

December 12th 2011 at 1:29pm 0 Comments
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Fully functional LightSabre aside, a tractor beam has to be high on most geek wish-lists; lucky for you NASA has started working on one. Before you drop your sandwich (or whatever that object in your left hand is), this won't be for sucking up star cruisers, but the more modest task of sample and...

November 2nd 2011 at 12:48am 0 Comments
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Lasers. Is there anything they can't do? The latest addition to the 50-year-old technology's bag of tricks comes courtesy of a team of researchers from the Australian National University, who've managed to create a laser beam that effectively functions as a tiny tractor beam. The key, it seems, is t...

September 9th 2010 at 10:15pm 0 Comments
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Researchers at Japan's Kyoto University have recently announced a breakthrough method for shaping laser beams that could result in optical disc capacities up to ten times higher than what's current available from state-of-the-art HD DVD and Blu-ray discs. Using several layers of so-called photonic c...

June 29th 2006 at 4:58pm 0 Comments
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In a proposal that would surely bring a tear to the late Ronald Reagan's eye, Air Force officials are attempting to co-opt $5.7 million from the 2007 budget for developing high-energy lasers that could be used to destroy enemy satellites (because, you know, al Qaeda is launching birds left and right...

May 3rd 2006 at 4:03pm 0 Comments