Scientists from Israel have created the world’s first ‘water-wave laser’ that emits a beam through the interaction of light and water waves.
The study conducted by team of researchers from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology led by Professor Tal Carmon.
Significance of this research
A typical laser can be created when the electrons in atoms become “excited” by energy absorbed from an outside source causing them to emit radiation in the form of laser light. However, the water-wave laser for the first time showed that water wave oscillations within a liquid device can also generate laser radiation. It also successfully demonstrated nonlinear optics and water waves, two areas of research that were previously considered unrelated to one another.
How it works?
- In this case, researchers had created a device in which an optical fibre delivers light into a tiny droplet of octane and water.
- The energy is emitted by the droplet when light waves and water waves pass through each other many times (about one million times) inside the droplet
- The interaction between the fibre optic light and the miniscule vibrations on surface of the droplet creates an echo i.e. interaction of sound waves causing it to emit radiation.
- Event when minute pressure is applied by light it can cause droplet deformation that is a million times greater than in a typical optomechanical device. It may offer greater control of the laser’s emissions.
- In order to increase this echo effect in the device, highly transparent, runny liquids was used to encourage light and droplet interactions.
The ‘water-wave laser’ may be used in ‘lab-on-a-chip’ devices to study cell biology and test new drug therapies. It can be used in tiny sensors that combine light waves, sound and water waves. It also offers scientists a playground for studying the interaction of light and fluid at a scale smaller than the width of a human hair.