Who would have thought that lasers are useful when it comes to cooling down stuff? Yeah, most of the time the image that we have about lasers would be to see them blow things up or cook bacon, simply because lasers can get really, really hot. It looks like lasers are also capable of doing the exact opposite – that is, to cool things down, including water. This was discovered in new research by scientists over at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle.
Since lasers were conceived and brought into being in the previous century, they have been used to heat, cut, and precisely measure stuff – but it looks like the recently published research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences would see a laser used to cool down water outside of a vacuum.
Senior author Dr. Peter Pauzauskie, UW assistant professor of materials science and engineering shared, “Typically, when you go to the movies and see Star Wars laser blasters, they heat things up. This is the first example of a laser beam that will refrigerate liquids like water under everyday conditions. It was really an open question as to whether this could be done because normally water warms when illuminated.”
The UW researchers’ claim to fame would be discovering how a laser can cool liquids under normal conditions. Will we see laser-equipped sections of a refrigerator down the road then? Who knows?