When you think of lasers, what comes to mind? Red security beams that a super spy has to crawl through? Blasters wielded by stormtroopers? As outlandish as things like this sound, some of them actually exist. Check out some of these most unbelievable applications of laser technology that we use today.
Recording Gravitational Waves
Gravity is everywhere, but it’s not actually that strong. Think about it: even tiny bugs are strong enough to overcome gravity every time they fly around. Gravitational waves are incredibly small. Extremely strong gravitational waves can be 1000 times smaller than the diameter of a proton.
Because of this, scientists used to believe it was impossible to detect gravitational waves. That changed in 2015, when the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) used lasers shot over long distances to detect gravitational waves. They were able to identify the waves from a collision of two black holes that happened 1.8 billion light years away.
There are several types of laser systems in the medical field, but one of the most interesting is the delicate and precise laser scalpel. Surgeons already use scalpels when they need precision in their operations. Laser scalpels take this a step further by enabling doctors to operate on a cellular level.
Even a small mistake with a traditional scalpel can have disastrous consequences during delicate operations such as brain surgery. Laser scalpels provide greater precision and control during these kinds of surgeries.
We use tweezers to grip tiny hairs or splinters, but what if tweezers could grab an atom? Fun fact: they can. Optical tweezers are some of the most unbelievable applications of laser technology. This tool uses lasers to manipulate individual molecules. The “tweezers” can twist and turn the molecule. Scientists can even use this technology to isolate individual atoms. Optical tweezers bring a new layer of precision to the field and present incredible potential for the future of nanotechnology. The opportunities are endless for physics, medicine, engineering, and more.
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