Ministry of Defence Pays £30m to Develop Laser Weapons

The Ministry of Defence has handed out £30m to a consortium of defence companies, with the ambition of creating a laser-based weapon to tackle whatever remote menaces might need destroying in the 2020s and beyond. Read More >>

Idiot Temporarily Blinds Air Ambulance Doctor With Laser

A bonafide idiot has temporarily blinded the flying doctor aboard an Air Ambulance flying over Swansea Bay, after repeatedly targeting his rescue helicopter with what’s being described as a “commercial-strength” laser beam. Read More >>

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These Four Laser Beams Will Create the World’s Most Powerful Fake Stars

Set lasers to star mode. The European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in Chile now has four powerful laser beams with which to create artificial stars in the night sky. Read More >>

The World’s First Silicon-Based Laser Will Light Up Computing

As optical computing becomes a more realistic prospect, lasers will be required to connect components inside our devices. Now, a new silicon-based laser could make it far easier for researchers to replace wires with beams of light. Read More >>

Radar Scans Beamed to Earth via Laser Can See Ships in Almost Real-Time

This grainy black-and-white image may not look much, but it’s a record-breaker. A radar scan acquired by satellite and beamed back to Earth by laser, it allowed the European Space Agency to identify ships off the coast of Brazil in less than 18 minutes—without any satellite ground stations nearby. Read More >>

Optical Data Storage Squeezes 360TB on to a Quartz Disc—Forever

Want to make sure you back something up indefinitely? Then you could do worse than a new digital data storage technique that uses laser light to store 360 terabytes of information on nanostructured quartz for up to 14 billion years. Read More >>

Heathrow Flight Abandoned After Virgin Atlantic Pilot Got Laser Zapped

A Virgin Atlantic flight from Heathrow to New York was abandoned shortly after passing over Ireland and out into the Atlantic, after one of the pilots reported a "medical issue" believed to have been triggered by someone shining a laser into the cockpit shortly after take off. Read More >>

The World’s Smallest Optical Switch Uses Just a Single Atom

Turning off a light just became a much smaller task. A team of researchers has developed the world’s smallest optical switch, which uses just a single atom to control the flow of light. Read More >>

Watch What Happens When Methane is Ignited With Lasers

Setting fire to things isn’t in and of itself science. But if you record it using special photography at 10,000 frames per second then it’s getting closer. This video shows just that. Read More >>

A £40 Hack Can Fool the LIDAR Sensors Used on Most Self-Driving Cars

Many autonomous cars use LIDAR — a kind of laser-based radar — to sense the world around them. But now a researcher has developed a simple system that can fool the devices into seeing objects where really none exist. Read More >>

Scientists Can Levitate Nanodiamonds in a Vacuum Using Laser Light

A team of researchers from the University of Rochester has managed to levitate nanodiamonds in a vacuum using laser light for the first time—which could provide a new breed of microscopic sensors. Read More >>

Inventor of the Laser Dies

Charles Townes, the physicist whose work would help lay the foundations for the development of the laser died on Tuesday 27 January. He was 99. His career also ranged far beyond an interest in lasers, into astronomy and a fascination with spirituality. Read More >>

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This Satellite Image Was Beamed 22,000 Miles Across Space by Laser

This may look like a fairly normal satellite image of Berlin, but it holds a rather special secret: it's the first image of its kind to be beamed back from the European Space Agency's Sentinel-1A satellite, in almost real time, by laser. Read More >>