Science aims to understand the mysteries of our complex, mysterious universe. Some queries are small, like hearing corn grow and learning how dogs understand us. Others reach beyond our world, like NASA mixtapes and discovering an habitable planet beyond our own.
But science also can create and a recent example of that involves every middle school nerd’s favorite technology: lasers. It is the latest major breakthrough in the field of polariton lasers, which could lead to new studies in quantum physics, and the key to all this was jellyfish. Enter the jellyfish laser.
Basically, the polariton lasers scientists use currently operate through inorganic semiconductors and generate exorbitant heat that requires cooling. During a 2011 study, scientists found that jellyfish’s green fluorescent proteins, through a combination of mirror and low-energy light, could produce a beam of monochromatic photons. In other words, green lasers.
This was the first insistence of biological lasers. (Much to Dr. Evil’s chagrin.) In 2016, scientists were able to use those green fluorescent proteins from jellyfish, as well as a mirror chamber and E. coli bacteria, to focus and increase the intensity of the “jellyfish laser,” as we’re calling it. Due to the barrel-shaped proteins, this polariton laser can function at room temperature, which is ideal for quantum applications, as some experiments require low-temperature settings. This new jellyfish polariton laser also is much more efficient and compact.
This makes the new study promising for the field of optical computing, [said Stéphane Kéna-Cohen, an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Physics at Polytechnique Montréal in Canada], and a tiny laser based on biomaterials could also potentially be implanted in the human body for medical applications. In the meantime, he added that they are a useful model for investigating fundamental questions in quantum physics.
This research may be preliminary and it may be awhile until it produces significant results, but polariton lasers can now be constructed organically from jellyfish. Our world is more unbelievable every day.
The most essential daily news, entertainment, pop culture, and culture coverage. Want more? Check out “How @Wendys Twitter Accidentally Became A Troll And Played Itself,” “Kim Kardashian Returns To Social Media And ‘Reality’ ” and “10 Surprising Fitness Hacks For Your New Year Routine”