Laser gun owners beware: The anti-laser is here.
The future of laser warfare may have hit a huge snag with a recent development by a team at Yale University. The team has created the world’s first “anti-laser,” designed to absorb light.
In truth, it wasn’t developed as a weapon. The army of ray-gun wielding robots you’ve been building may still be effective at taking over the world. Instead, Yale Professor Douglas Stone and his colleagues say it would likely be used in optical computing.
Stone reveals that while working on a theory to “predict what could be used to form a laser,” the team came up with an idea for a device that absorbs a laser’s light, and then built one. As the BBC describes, the device “focuses two lasers beams of a specific frequency into a specially designed optical cavity made from silicon, which traps the incoming beams of light and forces them to bounce around until all their energy is dissipated.”
It can absorb 99.4% of incoming light at a particular wavelength. The fact that it can be specific in regards to wavelength is important, because this allows the device to be used in an optical switch.
However, when it comes to taking on laser weaponry, the anti-laser still dissipates the energy as heat, so it’d likely still fry a person hit by a powerful beam. The true excitement that we should take from the advancement is in the optical computers that we may someday be using, not the laser shields. Yet.