You probably won't find this product in the Arbor Scientific catalog anytime soon, but it is definitely cool stuff! The Anti-Laser was demonstrated recently for the first time at Yale University. The fundamental concept of the Laser is that it is able to transmit "Coherent Light", which are monochromatic (one color) light waves that are "in-step", "in-synch", and "in phase" with each other. Apparently, the Anti-Laser performs a function where the light rays are "forced" perfectly "out of phase" with each other. If you are talking about optics in the classroom and students are learning about how light waves behave, why not challenge the students to talk about how and why an Anti-Laser works the way it works?
The results of the world's first Anti-Laser demonstration were published in the Feb. 18, 2011 issue of the journal Science, provided by a team of Yale physicists. This technology has many applications, including optical computing and radiology. See the Yale University announcementand Science article for additional information.
Note: Thank you to Buzz Putnam of Whitesboro High School in Marcy, NY for his contributions to this article.
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“I definitely want one of those blue LASERS! Ahhhh... to write my name on a phosphorescent board the FIRST day of class in the dark from the back of the room. That WILL get their attention!” -Buzz Putnam
Even though we can’t yet offer an Anti-Laser, Arbor Scientific has been adding other exciting new Lasers to our catalog. Take a look at the new blue-violet Laser, which produces wavelengths at 405 nm. Sure, it is a different color and that is always cool, but why use this over any other Laser?
- Cover most of the visible spectrum – If you only have the red (650nm) and green (532nm) Lasers, you are still missing a large part of the visible spectrum. At 405nm, the blue-violet Laser provides a good representation of the shorter wavelengths present on the opposite end of the visible spectrum from red.
- Diffraction grating differences - You can compare the red, green, and blue-violet Laser colors by pointing them through a diffraction grating to observe where the different wavelengths end up.
- More Fluorescence - Unlike the green Laser, the blue-violet Laser can produce fluorescence on a wide variety of materials. In other words, the blue-violet wavelength of 405 nm excites the electrons of most materials to a higher energy level than the green Laser.
- More phosphorescence - For your next trick, we recommend shining the Laser on something with “glow-in-the-dark” properties, such as a sheet of glow-in-the-dark paper. The effect, called phosphorescence, is due to the same characteristics of excited electrons that we saw in florescence. Only with phosphorescence, it takes longer for the material to transition back to its ground state, and therefore you see it longer with those types of materials. The green Laser does not produce these same effects. Show your students both situations and ask them why!
Why pay $79 for a violet LASER
Arbor Scientific has carefully screened all of our Lasers to make sure they offer a higher level of safety and peace of mind. There are low-cost versions available on the market today that could pose serious risk to your students due to a lack of infrared (IR) filters. Even pointers that use IR filtering could still be harmful, due to shoddy manufacturing that provides poor conversion efficiency (when converting from infra red to visible light). While all Lasers should be handled carefully to prevent users from harm and should never be pointed at unprotected eyeballs, these lower cost Lasers are particularly problematic in the academic atmosphere where there are many people in close proximity. For the safety of your students, please always make sure you have taken all the proper precautions possible, including the use of effective IR filtering.