China Shows Off High-Powered Laser That Can ‘Write’ In The Air

Holograms are getting real!

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China Shows Off High-Powered Laser That Can 'Write' In The Air
Image: SCMP

Movie plots often use holograms to give the scene a scientific or cooler essence. However, researchers have made these futuristic scenes a reality. According to reports, Scientists in China showcased a laser that can create Chinese characters out of thin air.

Although lasers often have a long-range, you can only see them when the light lands on a surface. However, dust particles made an exception. But this is entirely different and looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.

Scientists in China made a holographic laser.

China Shows Off High-Powered Laser That Can 'Write' In The Air
Image: SCMP

Scientists have already used lasers to create a range of optical illusions. However, it required mediums like dust and clouds to do so. But according to reports, with the new device, researchers are able to draw patterns using ultra-short laser pulses.

It works by stripping off electrons from the air and turning them into light. As a result, it creates a ghostly image floating around in mid-air. Lighting up the air is no easy feat. To do so, the laser needs to reach an energy density of 100 Tera watts per square centimeter.

This is quite a challenge for many other laser emitters of the same type. However, the researchers are optimistic and believe there’s room for improvement. Although the laser does a decent job, it has the potential to create brighter, larger full-color images in the air.

The Hongtuo Joint Laboratory of Ultra-Fast Laser in Wuhan’s optics valley hosted a demonstration last week. Researchers developed characters that could be seen from any angle and were tactile enough to be “touched” by researchers.

How does it work?

According to Cao Xiangdong, the laboratory’s head scientist, using the laser, researchers can sketch in the air without needing paper and ink. It works by focusing high-intensity pulses in the air to create plasma, or ionized gas, which emits energy in the form of light. Researchers used a 3D scanner to arrange the pixel dots to form the characters in the air. However, they did not explain how this works.

Because of the concise duration of the pulses, the power of Cao’s laser pen can reach a million megawatts. It’s surprising as it’s not far off the total utility-scale electricity generating capacity of the United States. However, due to the average input power being only a few tens of watts, it could be safely used in everyday scenarios.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think the infamous holographic sci-fi trick will become a reality?

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