science
Pew-Pew: What Do Lasers Actually Sound Like?

If you’ve ever watched a science-fiction movie, you might think you know what lasers sound like: some variation of a noise you could write as “pew.” But, you’ve used a laser pointer, right? Did it go “pew”? Read More >>

science
This Compact System Lets Scientists See Biological Molecules in a Whole New Way

Researchers have combined laser techniques and an ingenious detection scheme in order to create a powerful new molecule-imaging system—a quicker, easier way to determine the identity of microscopic molecules. Basically, it’s an advanced yet surprisingly simple microscope. Read More >>

science
How Scientists Made a Laser Beam That Can Pass Through White Paint

It’s not quite seeing through walls, but scientists are working to engineer light beams so that they can pass through an opaque medium without scattering, according to a new paper. Read More >>

lasers
PSA: Self-Driving Cars Can Ruin Your Camera

Walking round the massive tech cornucopia that is CES taking pictures of all kinds of weird and wonderful gadgets is one of the great pleasures of being a geek. But for robotics engineer Jit Ray Chowdhury, it was an easy way to break his £1,000 camera. Read More >>

science
How Plants Produce Oxygen Revealed by ‘Tour-de-Force’ Laser Measurement

An experiment using intense laser pulses has allowed scientists to watch plants produce oxygen from water as part of photosynthesis in real time, according to a groundbreaking new paper. Read More >>

science
A Visit to One of the Most Powerful Lasers on Earth

The winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics didn’t just make discoveries. Their revolutionary work turned powerful lasers into ubiquitous lab tools. The day of the announcement earlier this month, I’d already planned to visit the tennis-court sized Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator, or BELLA, which uses one of the Nobel-winning methods to create one of the most powerful laser pulses on Earth. Read More >>

science
Donna Strickland, Third Woman to Ever Win Nobel Prize in Physics, Helped Make Awesome Laser Tool

Scientists Arthur Ashkin from the US-based Bell Labs, Gérard Mourou from École Polytechnique in France, and Donna Strickland from the University of Waterloo in Canada shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for their pioneering work in laser physics. Strickland is the third female physics laureate ever, after Maria Goeppert Mayer in 1963, and the third including Marie Curie in 1903. Read More >>

toys
Nerf’s New Laser Tag Blasters Ditched the Darts, and I Don’t Miss Them

Over-the-top Nerf battles are a fun and (mostly) painless way to determine who in the office has to buy the donuts this week. What’s not so fun is having to hunt down every last missing dart afterwards. Hasbro’s eliminated that hassle with its new Laser Ops Pro blasters; an updated version of laser tag that might feel like blasphemy to the Nerf name, but actually ends up being more fun than fighting with foam darts. Read More >>

technology
China Claims to Have a Real-Deal Laser Gun That Inflicts ‘Instant Carbonisation’ of Human Skin 

As the US prepares for war in space, China’s bringing the space war home. Its ZKZM-500 laser assault rifle is reportedly capable of hitting a target from a kilometre away, igniting flammable objects, and burning through human skin. And it’s ready for production, the researchers behind the project claim. Read More >>

lasers
Record-Breaking Laser Experiment Could Teach Us About the Cores of Super-Earths

An enormous laser targeted for shutdown by proposed federal budget cuts has just done some record-breaking science in order to understand the centres of faraway exoplanets that scientists call “super-Earths.” Read More >>

china
Jaywalking in China Can Get You Hit with a Stream of Water

Law enforcement officers in the city of Daye in China’s Hubei province recently installed five bright yellow posts at one of the city’s busiest intersections. The new instalments come fully equipped with a number of methods meant to deter walkers from committing the unforgivable crime of jaywalking. Read More >>

science
New Room-Temperature Maser Uses Weird Diamond to Succeed Where Others Failed

Scientists have used the same technology that brought us time crystals to create a room-temperature maser—a microwave laser—that overcomes many of masers’ past problems. Read More >>

birds
Scotland Tests Laser Eagle Scarer

Some parts of rural Scotland are lucky enough to have white tailed sea eagles flying about above them, which is lovely for wildlife enthusiasts and tourists. Problem is, crofters who rear sheep in the area are just about fed up with the threat some of these birds pose to their lambs each spring. Hence ultimate tech cureall LASERS to the rescue. Read More >>

crime
Five Years in Prison for Shining a Laser at a Hovercraft

There's a bizarre new law about to hit the books in the UK, one that says you can go to prison for a maximum of five years should you shine a laser pen at a hovercraft. George Orwell never saw that one coming. Read More >>

war
US Air Force Wants to Put Lasers on Fighter Jets By 2021

The US Air Force’s scientific research wing is giving Lockheed Martin $26.3 million “for the design, development, and production of a high power fibre laser,” which it expects to start testing on a tactical fighter jet in four years. Sounds cool and certainly futuristic, but the jury’s still out on whether these weapons have any real tactical value. Read More >>