Latest in Science

Image credit:

World's first 3D microlaser created, has a gooey Bragg-onion center

Tim Stevens

Solid-state lasers 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.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr