Brookhaven National Laboratory Unveils Breakthrough in Laser Color Conversion
Lasers are powerful tools that are used in a wide range of applications, from scanning groceries to cutting metal and even for medical treatments. However, not all laser colors are ideal for every task. In order to overcome this limitation, scientists have been working on ways to convert one laser color into another. In a recent study published in Physical Review Applied, scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a new, simple, efficient and highly customizable method for changing laser colors.
The new method uses ionic liquids, which are materials made up of positively and negatively charged ions and flow like viscous fluids at room temperature. When a laser beam is shone through a tube filled with a specific ionic liquid, the interactions between the laser and the chemical bonds in the ionic liquid cause a shift in the laser’s energy, resulting in a change in the laser’s color. The color of the laser can be easily changed by selecting different ionic liquids.
The new method was developed as part of a project to improve the capabilities of a unique carbon-dioxide laser at Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Accelerator Test Facility. The researchers realized that the method had wider applications and could be used for additional color changes, including the difficult-to-produce shift from green to orange laser light, which has long been sought after for medical treatments such as skin and eye conditions.
Ionic liquids offer several advantages over other methods for changing laser colors such as dye lasers. Firstly, they are optically transparent, which makes it easy to avoid background absorption of light. Secondly, their higher viscosity helps to avoid laser scattering from acoustic waves, which is a problem in low-viscosity liquids like water. Finally, unlike other methods, the ionic liquids do not wear out and do not break the molecules, meaning they are a platform for efficient, simple and adjustment-free laser color shifting.
This new color-shifting strategy using ionic liquids is a promising development for the laser industry. The method is simple, efficient and highly customizable, offering numerous industrial and technological applications. The scientists believe that there is still room for improvement and optimization of the process, but overall, ionic liquids are a platform for efficient, simple and adjustment-free laser color shifting.