MASERs Coming to a Room Near YouCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: August 27, 2012 07:09AM
The word laser is the product of a quite descriptive scientific acronym and lasers are a product of the photoelectric effect: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. What this boils down to is that unlike a conventional light that randomly emits photons when there is the energy to do so, within a laser the emission of photons is triggered by something (specifically another photon). Though lasers typically operate in the optical part of the spectrum, the physics applies to all frequencies, provided you have the proper system.
Before the first laser shown, scientists had developed MASER technology, which is the same as LASER technology, but operates in the microwave part of the spectrum. Sadly, while lasers have become quite common in our lives, masers have been left behind because they required extreme conditions including strong magnetic fields and either very low temperature or pressure. Now researchers at the National Physical Laboratory have created a solid state maser that works in air and at room temperature.
There are a few issues with the current design though but the researchers intend to keep working to improve the design as much as they can, as room temperature masers could revolutionize many technologies. When lasers were first developed after all, no one quite knew what they could be used for, and I have a feeling they would not have believed you if you were to tell them everything we use them for now. Masers have just as much potential and may now be able to fulfill it.