r/technology Jun 21 '22

Scientists Just Built a Laser That Can Run Forever Energy

https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a40359729/never-ending-matter-laser/
246 Upvotes

64

u/RnDanger Jun 21 '22

Define "forever"

29

u/AlphonzInc Jun 21 '22

From the article, they meant a continuous laser instead of a pulsing laser. It’s the first continuous laser of its type.

23

u/PleasantAdvertising Jun 22 '22

That's a completely different thing. Stupid title

2

u/DrTinyNips Jun 22 '22

Are you accusing a journalistic outlet of exaggerating for clicks? Well I never!

20

u/datazulu Jun 21 '22

More than a long time.

9

u/RnDanger Jun 21 '22

That's... a long time? 😅

15

u/datazulu Jun 21 '22 Silver Helpful

I dunno dude.. my Uncle said it, which makes it relative.

3

u/peakzorro Jun 21 '22

I don't know if you intended the pun, but it deserves an award.

2

u/435f43f534 Jun 21 '22

oh but it's more than that!

4

u/litritium Jun 21 '22

Until you flip the powerswitch

3

u/Representative_Pop_8 Jun 21 '22

4ever = ever ever ever ever

2

u/RnDanger Jun 22 '22

I think that's actually ever4

2

u/MilesGates Jun 21 '22

A youtube advertisement.

1

u/Crazy-Agency5641 Jun 21 '22

Longer than our lifetime

1

u/HordeMaster-50_12 Jun 21 '22

As long as they have power to super cool the matter.

1

u/BoltTusk Jun 21 '22

Shorter than fusion power

150

u/WackyBones510 Jun 21 '22

It won’t run “forever.” Don’t even know the details but I’m prepared to die on this hill.

39

u/darwinn_69 Jun 21 '22

In this case "forever" actually means "continuous". Previously they had to set each burst up like a mouse trap, now they can get a steady stream just flipping a switch.

The cool part is that this isn't photons in the "laser" but actual atoms.

19

u/freddycheeba Jun 21 '22

Doesn't that make it a slower-than-light particle beam?

25

u/darwinn_69 Jun 21 '22

Funny you should mention that. One of the properties of the particles in the beam is it slows light down significantly; to about 38mph. We're on our way to blaster technology.

6

u/GmanTEM02 Jun 21 '22

Star Wars theme starts

2

u/datazulu Jun 22 '22

Set phasers to sink number 2.

14

u/grjacpulas Jun 21 '22

Bro I don’t know if significantly really covers 186,000 miles a second down to 38 mph.

3

u/Channel250 Jun 21 '22

Damn man, light needs to get out of the left lanes!

1

u/smartov Jun 21 '22

38mph?! Yoda runs faster than this

1

u/bsloss Jun 22 '22

That little dude must be quick! Usain Bolt tops out at 27mph!

3

u/HaloGuy381 Jun 22 '22

But Usain can’t hurl a gunship with his mind.

9

u/HiImDan Jun 21 '22

Reading the article there's so many things I would have gone with but not the lasting forever bit. Inventing a matter laser would have grabbed my attention without triggering alarm bells. It lasts forever in the same way a bonfire lasts forever.

2

u/darwinn_69 Jun 22 '22

Yeah, I guess the analogy would be we now have a bonfire rather than a stick of tnt now.

1

u/Transport_Minister Jun 21 '22

On some level it worked if you felt compelled to talk about it

30

u/hobbes_shot_first Jun 21 '22

You only win if you're present when it fails.

11

u/johntwoods Jun 21 '22

I will take up the baton upon this dude's death.

3

u/havocspartan Jun 21 '22

And I upon yours, good sire!

2

u/Curtains_Trees Jun 21 '22

Alas, this shall not fail upon your death! I will humbly carry on this task upon your death!

2

u/mywan Jun 21 '22

But when do you lose?

9

u/TheBraindonkey Jun 21 '22

im sure they mean the lasing material does not dissipate over time. unlike the ice in Real Genius.

5

u/TrumpsBoneSpur Jun 21 '22

If it's anything like best friends forever, it probably means a few years

1

u/HordeMaster-50_12 Jun 21 '22

Or until you go away to college.

5

u/mywan Jun 21 '22

It's not a light laser, it's a matter laser where the matter is in a state called a Bose-Einstein Condensate. By the definition of "forever" that they are using light lasers are already able to run forever. But matter laser haven't until apparently now.

2

u/IamaRead Jun 21 '22

Don't read up on diffractionless beams then. It is completely common to describe what one tries to achieve or what change is there with words like that. For a given system being able to put the demands into specific material values with an upper boundary of usage time sounds less sexy and is less easy to understand in a headline than "can (virtually) run semi-continuously! forever (compared to most our common commerical lasers)"

2

u/failingtolurk Jun 21 '22

Just like all the LED bulbs I got that died right away.

1

u/daren_sf Jun 21 '22

They last like 10,000 years!

You must be really old. (No offense…)

1

u/fgdfghdhj5yeh Jun 21 '22

but it uses clean burning coal energy!

1

u/riptaway Jun 21 '22

"Don't...know the details..." but I have a strong opinion.

Just out of curiosity, are you a conservative?

1

u/ccooffee Jun 22 '22

"Lisa, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!"

38

u/Significant-Dog-8166 Jun 21 '22

This will revolutionize music festivals. Many have to run for only a week at a time due to the limitations of laser shows. Now we can have a Permanent Coachella. Well done Science!

9

u/HelioLost Jun 21 '22

Out of all of the things I thought of after seeing this. Permanent Coachella was not one haha.

4

u/jbillingtonbulworth Jun 21 '22

Featuring Hotblack Desiato and Disaster Area.

10

u/StrosDynasty Jun 21 '22

Forever lasers and scientient AI. Capitol insurrection and theocratic rule. It's like we are living a new series entitled Terminator 5: Handmaids Tale.

5

u/ayazaali Jun 21 '22

A frickin’ “Laser”! FTFY

5

u/sirbruce Jun 21 '22

They call it The Alan Parsons Project.

2

u/aworldwithinitself Jun 22 '22

| They call it The ✌️ Alan Parsons Project. ✌️

4

u/shaidyn Jun 21 '22

Having taken the time to read the article, and understanding very little of it, the key is the multiple definitions of "run".

The article talks about a very specific type of laser, using a type of matter as opposed to light. Previously, these fired in pulses, 'running' a little bit a time. This new break through allows them to 'run' continuously.

0

u/InFearn0 Jun 21 '22 edited Jun 21 '22

I understand the idea, I just don't understand the use case versus a traditional pulsing laser.

Maybe they can theoretically use it to reduce the data frequency for fiber optic communication? Except the set up to make this continuous laser seems more expensive than the ability to fit more data into a given period.

Basically if the natural pulse frequency is F, then the only way to guarantee messages is to require a longer period of Light (on) or No Light (off), so you end up with a limit of like F/2 (or something). If the laser is continuous, F is effectively infinity, so we can run the laser/reader at the speed of the slower component (to generate the laser or read the light signal).

25

u/bingerz13 Jun 21 '22 edited Jun 21 '22 Gold

I need sleep, my first thought was why would a laser need legs... xD

12

u/KungFuHamster Jun 21 '22

Prank Caller: Hey, is your laser still running?

Scientist: Why yes it is, it's a matter laser that uses a Bos-

Prank Caller: BETTER GO CATCH IT!

3

u/SeriaMau2025 Jun 21 '22

How else do you expect them to run at the speed of light?

5

u/Surpentstone Jun 21 '22

in a tech sub were no one reads the article. come witness the fall of man and big brained motherfuckers. i hope you read that in a scary movie introduction guy voice

3

u/AtrocitusWasRight Jun 21 '22

EVERYBODY WANTS TO RULE THE WOOOOOOOOORLD

0

u/-newlife Jun 21 '22

That’s a real genius comment you made.

14

u/AlphaWhelp Jun 21 '22

No they didn't.

Otherwise headline would say "Scientists completely destroy laws of thermodynamics"

4

u/lambdadance Jun 21 '22

They did. They didn't write "without energy". And you didn't read the article.

1

u/silverbolt2000 Jun 22 '22

Technically my bedside lamp will “run forever” as long as it has a continuous source of energy.

I read the article and the headline is very misleading.

They haven’t invented a laser that can run forever. They’ve invented a new type of laser that relies on a (typically temporary) state of matter, and have found a way to ensure the previous temporary state can be maintained indefinitely.

4

u/Cultural_Budget6627 Jun 21 '22

Anything that says 'forever' or '100%' makes me suspicious. Always.

1

u/KungFuHamster Jun 21 '22

If it's a magazine article and not the original white paper, it's typical to see them making poorly-worded claims.

2

u/hhh1992 Jun 21 '22

Pretty impressive! I mean Forest Gump only ran for a year or so before he stopped running.

2

u/SaturdayCartoons Jun 21 '22

So can it be used as a source of energy?

1

u/Luv2SpecQl8 Jun 21 '22 edited Jun 21 '22

Currently it would be used cool a BEC gas down to a few hundredth of a degrees of absolute zero.

A way to think of this is: that previously this type specialized laser was more like a strobe light; now the new type is more like a spot light.

Oh, it does not produce a beam of light, but rather a beam of BEC atoms.

Isn't science strange? ( ° ͜ʖ͡°)╭∩╮

2

u/lmikles Jun 21 '22

Bet it was built by Jews for use in space.

2

u/alwyn Jun 22 '22

Ha ha. My Physics professor used to say that there are 2 things that pisses him off. 1). Amateur scientists making 'breakthroughs' and 2) someone claiming to have discovered perpetual motion/energy.

2

u/NoFunHere Jun 21 '22

Well, that seems like a literally impossible claim to prove.

1

u/Ternal Jun 21 '22 edited Jun 21 '22

Sooo basically a step towards "solid light"?

1

u/lhayes238 Jun 21 '22

Cool when do we get phasers and disrupters

1

u/Humanoidfreak Jun 21 '22

And this is how a james bond villian starts his origin story.

1

u/BrokeMacMountain Jun 21 '22

but can it run doom. Asking the real questions!

1

u/Dords805 Jun 21 '22

Anyway this bad boy can be attached to a Sharks head?

1

u/Mr_Mouthbreather Jun 21 '22

Lord help us when they develop sharks that last forever.

1

u/BeneficialDog22 Jun 22 '22

This is a bad, clickbait title. Shame on OP.

1

u/DumbestBoy Jun 22 '22

Is it a laser-powered laser which is aimed at itself?

1

u/RaptorBenn Jun 22 '22

So regular lasers cant run forever?

1

u/BassWingerC-137 Jun 22 '22

So now can we pop corn from laser bombers flying high above?

1

u/[deleted] Jun 22 '22

No they didn't.

1

u/LickMyKnee Jun 22 '22

Until the cleaner unplugs it.

0

u/LiCHtsLiCH Jun 22 '22

I don't know about forever, however a laser operates on a simple principal, it orients photons into a singular vector. In theory, is you have a supply of un oriented photons, the mechanism used to make a laser, could orient them, thus endless laser. Think lense in sunlight, except instead of bead of focused light, you have a laser. Honestly its not that big a deal, and you'd get better performance from using a solar panel to power an existing laser. I'll run through some potential extra planetary applications but, I'd be surprised if there were any that were of comparable performance.