A laser-powered farewell to moon mission

Just before NASA’s latest Moon mission ended last week, an ESA telescope received laser signals from the spacecraft, achieving data speeds like those used by many to watch movies at home via fibre-optic Internet.

A new laser for a faster Internet

The study was published the week of February 10–14 in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The work is the result of a five-year effort by researchers in the laboratory of Amnon Yariv, Martin and Eileen Summerfield Professor of Applied Physics and professor of electrical engineering; the project was led by postdoctoral scholar Christos Santis (PhD '13) and graduate student Scott Steger.

Laser instrument on NASA Mars Rover tops 100,000 zaps

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has passed the milestone of 100,000 shots fired by its laser. It uses the laser as one way to check which chemical elements are in rocks and soils.

2 for 1 in solar power

Solar cells offer the opportunity to harvest abundant, renewable energy. Although the highest energy light occurs in the ultraviolet and visible spectrum, most solar energy is in the infrared. There is a trade-off in harvesting this light, so that solar cells are efficient in the infrared but waste much of the energy available from the more energetic photons in the visible part of the spectrum.

Laser communications set for Moon mission

An advanced laser system offering vastly faster data speeds is now ready for linking with spacecraft beyond our planet following a series of crucial ground tests. Later this year, ESA’s observatory in Spain will use the laser to communicate with a NASA Moon orbiter.

A military laser that shows what objects are made of

A new laser capable of showing what objects are made of could help military aircraft identify hidden dangers such as weapons arsenals far below.

Using space tech to root out counterfeit food

A laser device originally designed to measure carbon on Mars could soon be used here on Earth to root out counterfeit foods, making sure that honey, olive oil and chocolate are what they claim.

Apple patent outlines laser-powered depth perception system

A recently discovered patent application outlines an Apple-designed system that uses lasers and image sensors to facilitate a sense of depth perception.

50 kW high-energy laser weapon tested in Switzerland

The Pentagon has been developing both offensive and defensive laser weapon capabilities for a number of years.

US Navy: Laser-based weapons on track for deployment

US Navy ships may be fitted with laser weapons within just a few years.

Curiosity rover starts firing laser

Yesterday, an invader from another planet fired off a laser 30 times, in what we have to hope won't be seen as an act of aggression by any overlooked Martian inhabitants.

Laser system can see round corners

A new laser system captures the behavior of individual photons and uses advanced optics to deduce what's around the corner.

500 trillion watt laser shot decimates previous record

Physicists  at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the National Ignition Facility have utterly decimated a previous record for the most powerful laser shot ever.

This Stalker drone stays airborne using laser power

Unmanned aerial vehicles have seen extensive deployment in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Pentagon wants a lightning gun

Lightning guns are often thought of as weapons of science fiction, relegated to the pages of magazines, movie screens and video games.

MIT camera can see around corners

MIT researchers say they've developed a camera that can see round corners - useful for peeping toms and rescue workers.

Tiniest room-temperature laser created

Scientists have created the smallest-ever laser to work at room temperature, as well as one that doesn't waste a single photon.

World's first atomic X-ray laser created

Department of Energy scientists have built the world's hottest laser, delivering temperatures hotter than the corona of the sun.

Laser for sale that can blind orbiting satellites

It's a bit of a push as claims go: most satelites orbit at a distance of about 200 miles, compared with the 85-mile range of the S3 Krypton Series. Nevertheless, it's a bit more powerful than your average laser pointer.

Living laser created from human kidney cell

Scientists, rather unbelievably, have created a functioning laser from a single living human kidney cell.