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Researchers Create Working Nano Laser

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the viruses-with-lasers-you-say dept.

Shark 39

Zothecula writes "Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a laser the size of a virus particle that can operate at room temperature. The 'nanolaser,' which uses gold nanoparticles instead of mirrors, is claimed to be the first demonstration to make use of a so-called bowtie arrangement of metal nanoparticles, though nano-scale lasers have been previously demonstrated." Original paper (paywalled, unfortunately).

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Finally (0)

Fallingcow (213461) | about 2 years ago | (#41908797)

Lasers for my nano sharks.

Re:Finally (2)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 years ago | (#41908807)

Lasers for my nano sharks.

Sharks get all the cool gear.

Re:Finally (2)

geekmux (1040042) | about 2 years ago | (#41908875)

Lasers for my nano sharks.

Or perhaps common viruses were feeling inferior for some reason, and needed to upgrade.

If so, I blame Ebola. That bitch can be downright ruthless on the playground.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41908969)

Tadpoles?

Re:Finally (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#41909291)

Tadpoles?

Goldfish, of course.

You guys, keep up.

Nitpick on the summary picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41908947)

The picture looks more like a manta ray or a sting ray than a shark. You really ought to change it.

Re:Nitpick on the summary picture (1)

bjohnso5 (1476817) | about 2 years ago | (#41911331)

It's pretty clearly a shark fin with a water reflection on my screen. Are you on a smartphone or something?

Great.... but... (1)

heatseeker_around (1246024) | about 2 years ago | (#41908951)

That's great. Seems to be wonderful. But what will it be used for / with ? What industry will benefit of this "invention" ? Will it be the direct or indirect source of any improvements in our daily life ?

Re:Great.... but... (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#41909059)

That's great. Seems to be wonderful. But what will it be used for / with ? What industry will benefit of this "invention" ?

Funny, they asked the same things when lasers themselves were invented. Nowdays, how many lasers are in your house? The fact is, you never know when a "useless" invention or discovery will turn out to be earth-shaking.

Re:Great.... but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41909415)

It is still a valid question. Just the negative answer is not "it has no use," it is "we don't know yet," and in some cases you can refine that with a short term time frame over which it won't likely be usable. And plenty of discoveries have immediate or long term uses in mind, and some idea on how long before the discovery can be manufactured and work outside the lab.

Re:Great.... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41910057)

I wonder if devices on this scale are relevant to antimatter storage [harvard.edu] and production? When dealing with masses significantly smaller than a nanogram, it seems virus-sized lasers may be of the correct scale for experimentation.

Re:Great.... but... (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#41910791)

...you never know when a "useless" invention or discovery will turn out to be earth-shaking.

...or retina-searing. :p

Re:Great.... but... (1)

samion.blanc (2729103) | about 2 years ago | (#41912443)

yep, there are a ton of 'useless' inventions that are now used all the time and made huge amounts of money. like post-it notes, fedex were told overnight delivery would never work. or how about bill gates saying 640kb of memory would be the max anyone would need.

Re:Great.... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41912709)

and what happens if dr. evil and his nano-me side-kick get wind of this so called "laser" technology? has anyone considered the potential eeevil that might be wrought?

Re:Great.... but... (1)

tattood (855883) | about 2 years ago | (#41909091)

I would imagine that they could attach it to nano-bots that go inside the body and zap cancer cells or other diseases.

Re:Great.... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41909169)

If you had nano-bots that were capable of seeking out and identifying pathogens or cancer cells, they could just go "hand-to-hand" and break the things up - a laser would be a pointless and unnecessary power drain that would drastically shorten the bot's useful lifespan.

Nano-lasers would be extremely useful in nano-scale manufacturing, though.

Re:Great.... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41909189)

careful, you're stumbling over your own shortsightedness there buddy

Re:Great.... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41909319)

What industry will benefit of this "invention" ?

Why are you using scare quotes to imply that it's not really an invention?

Re:Great.... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41909339)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_assisted_magnetic_recording uses this effect to write high density data in hard drives and it is likely that in the next couple years, the hard drives you buy will have a device similar to the one described in the paper inside. The abstract in the linked article also mentioned possible communication and bio applications (you can make very sensitive sensors with this effect). Plasmonics is still a relatively new field (while stained glass uses this property, it wasn't until recently that you could fabricate new device shapes small enough), so new findings are always cool to see. Plus, you know, fricken lasers.

Re:Great.... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41909429)

Yeah, you're right. What we need to focus on is the manufacture and export of more horse-whips. THAT'S WHERE THE MONEY IS!!!!

Re:Great.... but... (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41909507)

!useful != !awesome

Re:Great.... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41909627)

You stupid, stupid child. It doesn't mean anything if you can't reap rewards immediately, does it?

Re:Great.... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41909633)

What? You're not really anti-science, are you?

But, if you must: on-die optical interconnects. Thought exercise: name 10 products those would be useful in. It's easy.

Re:Great.... but... (2)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 2 years ago | (#41909745)

Laser array memory? Internal chip communication? UV laser sterilization wrap? Just off the top of my head. I'm sure there's more.

Re:Great.... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41910237)

Your ignorance is stunning.

Re:Great.... but... (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 years ago | (#41910281)

Exactly. And what good is a new born baby?

Re:Great.... but... (1)

karstdiver (541054) | about 2 years ago | (#41911723)

Imagine the laser light shows!

Re:Great.... but... (1)

brad3378 (155304) | about 2 years ago | (#41915839)

Might be good for squeezing more data on an optical drive?

Board of Lady Managers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41908981)

... of the Columbian Exposition. Worst title of a chaired professor, ever!

NanoSharks! (0)

Pepebuho (167300) | about 2 years ago | (#41909057)

Now we need nano Sharks

MIT does not have researchers? (3, Interesting)

Yokoshima (637029) | about 2 years ago | (#41909155)

Why is it that anytime MIT does something Slashdot reads "MIT does something" (see http://games.slashdot.org/story/12/11/07/1559210/mit-slows-down-speed-of-light-in-new-game [slashdot.org] ) and whenever another university does something it is the generic "Researchers do stuff"?

Re:MIT does not have researchers? (1)

AZURERAZOR (472031) | about 2 years ago | (#41909237)

Better publicists?

Re:MIT does not have researchers? (1)

Dmritard96 (1268918) | about 2 years ago | (#41909509)

Totally agree

Re:MIT does not have researchers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41910737)

MIT makes good click bait.

Re:MIT does not have researchers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41917259)

They also mention CalTech from time to time...

Defies the diffraction limit of light? (1)

jstave (734089) | about 2 years ago | (#41910137)

Can someone explain what they mean about defying the diffraction limit of light? How can that be?

Forget sharks... (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#41911971)

How about sperm with laser strapped to their heads. :p

I want one (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41913201)

I want one.

Of course, it's so small that if I had one, I probably wouldn't know it.

what's next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41931743)

bacteria with hear-attached lasers?

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