Skip to main content

Behold, the world’s first anti-laser

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The danger of dying from a laser attack — or, more likely, cancer — just got a little smaller. Scientists at Yale University have successfully constructed the world’s first “anti-laser” — so called because it cancels out beams of light generated by a laser rather than emiting them, reports Wired.

While a standard laser amplifies light with the use of a “gain medium” and mirrors, and emits a beam of light that shines entirely in one direction, the anti-laser counters a laser beam with a different beam that is its exact opposite. Also, the anti-laser feeds the two beams through silicon, a “loss medium,” which causes a loss of coherence in the beam, rather than an increase.

The device, officially called the Coherent Perfect Absorber (CPA), is the brainchild of Yale physicists Hui Cao and A. Douglas Stone, who took a scattering of ideas about a possible anti-laser and turned them into a functioning contraption. Their findings originally appeared in the journal Science.

Currently the CPA can absorb 99.4 percent of all light fed into it, but the research team responsible for building it believes they can increase that number to a near-perfect 99.999 percent.

The CPA built by the Yale team measures one centimeter wide. But the team says its size can be shrunk to a mere six microns.

So what will the anti-laser be used for? Sadly, the answer probably doesn’t have to do with anything resembling intergalactic battle.

Once the predicted major shrinkage occurs, the CPA could potentially be used to create a new breed of supercomputers by integrating the technology into optical computer boards, which use light rather than electricity to operate. In addition, the researchers say CPAs could be used by the medical industry to treat cancer in a way that is currently not possible.

Most importantly, the research team believes their working device should be easy to duplicate.

“For about four months it just wasn’t working,” Stone told “Part of the problem is that all experiments just have certain imperfections that the theory doesn’t have. But we kept at it, because no one had really done anything like this before. And now that it works, it should be very easy to recreate.”

(Image via)

Andrew Couts
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Features Editor for Digital Trends, Andrew Couts covers a wide swath of consumer technology topics, with particular focus on…
How to do hanging indent on Google Docs
Google Docs in Firefox on a MacBook.

The hanging indent is a classic staple of word processing software. One such platform is Google Docs, which is completely free to start using. Google Docs is packed with all kinds of features and settings, to the point where some of its more basic capabilities are overlooked. Sure, there are plenty of interface elements you may never use, but something as useful as the hanging indent option should receive some kind of limelight.

Read more
How to disable VBS in Windows 11 to improve gaming
Highlighting VBS is disabled in Windows 11.

Windows 11's Virtualization Based Security features have been shown to have some impact on gaming performance — even if it isn't drastic. While you will be putting your system more at risk, if you're looking to min-max your gaming PC's performance, you can always disable it. Just follow the steps below to disable VBS in a few quick clicks.

Plus, later in this guide, we discuss if disabling VBS is really worth it, what you'd be losing if you choose to disable it, and other options for boosting your PCs gaming performance that don't necessarily involve messing with VBS.

Read more
How to do a hanging indent in Microsoft Word
A person typing on a keyboard, connected to a Pixel Tablet.

Microsoft Word is one of the most feature-rich word processing tools gifted to us human beings. In fact, the very word “Word” has invaded nomenclature to the point where any discussion of this type of software, regardless of what the product is actually called, typically results in at least one person calling the software “Word.”

Read more