First Laser Caught on Camera Looks Like Every Sci-Fi Movie

Tuesday, 27 January 2015 - 5:07PM
Tuesday, 27 January 2015 - 5:07PM
First Laser Caught on Camera Looks Like Every Sci-Fi Movie
< >

Scientists have caught the flight path of a laser on camera for the very first time, and it genuinely looks like a Star Wars battle:



Pew pew!


Usually, lasers can only be seen as a small dot on a surface. It's difficult for the eye, or a camera, to directly observe a laser in action because it travels in a tightly focused beam, so none of the photons can reach the eye unless are reflected from a surface. So the only way to observe the flight path is to diffuse the beam in some way, by shooting it through smoke for example.


"The challenge was to have a movie of light moving directly in air," said Genevieve Gariepy of Heriot-Watt University. "We wanted to look at light without interacting with it, just looking at it passing by."


In order to take the above video, the researchers took footage of over 2 million pulses bouncing off of mirrors over ten minutes. By taking a side view of the lasers bouncing off the mirrors, they weren't able to film all of the photons, but there were enough air scattered photons that they were able to effectively track the flight path. 


"What comes out is a frame by frame of the light moving through our system," said Gariepy. 


Via New Scientist