Researchers at Yale University have built the first antilaser, a device that utterly extinguishes specific wavelenghts of light instead of flashing bright beams. The discovery may have applications in fields from computing to medical imaging.
Conventional lasers create intense beams of light by stimulating atoms to spit out a coherent beam of light in which all the light waves march in lockstep. The crests of one wave match the crests of all the others, and troughs match up with troughs.
The antilaser does the reverse: Two perfect beams of laser light go in, and are completely absorbed.
“There will be nothing coming out again,” said experimental physicist Hui Cao of Yale University, whose research group built the new device.