Researchers Create Sound Laser out of Phonons (Maybe Call it "Phaser"?)

Phasers ain't just a weapon in Star Trek! Researchers at the NTT Basic Research Laboratories in Japan have created a "sound laser" using a nanoscale drum:

Because laser is an acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation,” these new contraptions – which exploit particles of sound called phonons – should properly be called phasers. Such devices could one day be used in ultrasound medical imaging, computer parts, high-precision measurements, and many other places.

A laser is created when a bunch of light particles, known as photons, are emitted at a specific and very narrow wavelength. The photons all travel in the same direction at the same time, allowing them to efficiently carry energy from one place to another. Since their invention more than 50 years ago, almost all lasers have used light waves. Early on, scientists speculated that sound waves be used instead, but this has proved tricky to actually achieve.

It wasn’t until 2010 that researchers built the very first sound lasers, coaxing a collection of phonons to travel together. But those first devices were hybrid models that used the light from a traditional laser to create a coherent sound emission.

Adam Mann of Wired has the story: Link


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Not to be confused with a Phasor or FASOR. I would always be hesitant to name something after a scifi device, because you never know if 10+ years later something cooler will come out that needs that name.

And I it seems like we've given up on the L in laser meaning light. First we had masers, then lasers, then it seemed like someone decided we should go with *adjective* laser instead of *aser. Maybe because I've seen stuff like xaser in writing but don't think I've ever seen anyone try to say it, and other combinations would be even harder to say. But the people who made the spaser didn't get the memo.
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