Ways That Lasers Are Changing The World

A blog about lasers changing the world banner

From laser eye surgery, laser hair removal and even our very own (literally) cutting edge laser cutting services, Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (or lasers, for short) has changed the world in so many ways since its invention during the 1960s. Within this laser quest, the technology that was described as “a solution in search of a problem” has revolutionised the way that we interact with and use the world. As proud users of this incredibly technology, here at Yorkshire Profiles we thought we’d look at a few of the other ways that lasers are shaping and changing the world around us. We already know about the fantastic work of laser printers and other such technologies that have made our life so much easier, but did you know that lasers are now being developed as an alternate fuel source? Or to control the weather? Or even controlling minds? The possibilities for such incredible technology seem to be limitless, each day scientists and researchers are discovering more and more ways to utilise this technology for the betterment and progression of humanity. With such breath taking developments, it’s hard not to get excited about the future of lasers! Read on and be amazed at the awesome innovations.

Lasers are making the Dentist from Harlingen Dental Studio less scary

We’ve all been there, waiting in the clinical sterile smelling dentist’s waiting room, anxious about the outcome of our latest check up. The prospect of a filling, or root canal work can be daunting for many, being as it is a long, precise and uncomfortable procedure. It’s not the dentists’ fault of course, its just that no technology has made itself available yet to replace the complicated and delicate surgery involved in drilling to fillings and root canal. Step forward laser stem cell technology, which looks to be set to make tooth decay surgery a thing of the past.

Developed at Harvard’s Wyss Institute, researchers have developed a method of encouraging stem cell growth to rebuild decaying teeth, using lasers to direct their growth. How it works is that stem cells, which are undefined cells that can change to replace missing tissue in body parts, are encouraged to grow and reach certain parts of the body via proteins known as growth factors. By introducing these proteins they change the stem cell growth, meaning that potentially they could be used to replace any cells in the body. Currently, the focus is on dental health, requiring a smaller amount of cells for organ replacement and also allowing for precise work. Here is where the laser comes in; a low level, non ionizing beam is used to stimulate the growth factor, focussing the growing power of the stem cells to the oral areas that really need it.

Lasers are nothing new to the medical world, notably being used within eye surgery for years as a much more precise and safety method for curing bad eyesight, with the addition of dental hygiene the list for medicinal laser use keeps growing. The current tests have taken place on rats and prove very promising for next stage testing on human subjects. What makes this so ground-breaking is that it is the first scientific evidence of molecular mechanical studies of lasers to back up the growing anecdotal evidence from over the last 50 years.

As well as an exciting future for oral health, the technology looks to be incredibly promising for looking into other areas of the body – who knows! Perhaps in the not too distant future a trip to the hospital will only consist of a laser beam and some stem cells!


Image Courtesy of wikipedia.org

Lasers are taking out the space trash

In a development that made headline writers squeal with delight, an Australia science team has been working on using the intense heat and power of lasers to burn out space trash that threatens to cause satellite pile ups around the planet. The Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) is an Australian research group comprised of Australian Universities, space agencies, and companies just to name a few include Lockheed Martin, Optus and EOS Space System. The company is now contracted by NASA and is receiving $20 million dollars in government funding and $40 million in private investors and looks set to be up and running in ten years time.

From the numerous attempts to send satellites into space and other orbital rubbish, there is a fear that the numerous celestial orbits will crash into one another causing massive problems for the earth’s orbital system. Using the intense heat from a laser, it will cause these obstructs and space ‘junk’ to harmlessly burn up, removing the problem without causing any issues for the earth. It will also be used to help detect and track these objects that float in earth’s orbit, helping us better understand the blurred atmosphere that we observe the rest of space from. This will prove that there is no danger of hitting a working satellite, only those that have stopped working or have been decommissioned. This fantastic technology could also prove useful as a technology to destroy on coming meteorites and other space debris. No longer will Bruce Willis have to make that tough decision in the film Armageddon, we’ll simply fire a laser at the meteor!

Mastery of Insects and Rodents

Here’s where laser technology gets a little scary – recent uses of it by scientists could prove the pave the way for controlling the minds of flies and mice. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has been using an infrared laser to send signals into the brain of a fly with altered heat altered proteins, targeting specific proteins to elicit the correct response. the new technology has been called FlyMAD and currently activates the ‘mating’ neurons within the fly’s brain. Once activated, this causes the fly to begin courting the nearest object to itself, in the case of the research it was a ball of wax. The laser is so powerful that its effects lasted 15 minutes after being switched off, showing the incredible power of future science.

This is very similar to the research called optogenetics, where researchers did a similar thing of using altered proteins to direct the neuron processes of the subjects minds. Here this research couldn’t work due the fly’s small head and exoskeleton, making the use of fiber optics cables in mice impossible with the size available. Despite the potentially frightening consequences – being able to create living drones from insects and rodents – it also holds the key to potentially unlocking some of the great mysteries of how our mind works. Discovering this will help us understand how the cells that make up our brains, called neurons, work with one another, giving us the ability to map out the functions of this profound and incredibly sophisticated organ. This technology could lead to us solving problems such as getting closer to a cure for Alzheimer’s or schizophrenia, with the great insight into how the mind functions we can develop great strategies to combat some of the most tragic mental ailments that mankind faces.

Lasers are Replacing fossil fuels

In 2007, the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire was developing and producing the exciting technology of laser fusion energy. This is essentially using the heat and precision of laser technology to split a fuel capsule, which releases a colossal amount of energy in exchange for a small loss of mass. The science promises to produce almost unlimited energy with no greenhouse gases. With the ever increasing awareness of our lack of nonrenewable resources and the search for new greener technologies, this nuclear fusion looks set to be the answer to our environmental problems.

The intense heat required for making this process happen has to be the same heat as the sun, meaning the temperature needs to be over 100 million degree celsius! This has not deterred scientists, who have continued to develop this astounding research. At the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California in 2012 they tested out their own National Ignition Facility laser fusion shot to see just how much power they could produce from a single shot. The results are shocking. The NIF delivered 500 trillion Watts (or Terawatts) of peak power and 1.85 Megajoules. To put this into perspective, 500 TW is 1000 times more power than the United States of America uses at any one time. The number of megajoules is 100 times what other lasers regularly produce today. These awesome developments have led to other countries looking into their own stations to produce the intense amounts of power in the UK, Russia and France to name a few.

Lasers can control the Weather

Research taken by the University of Central Florida and the University of Arizona have been using laser beams to control the weather. Specifically, the attempt to cause storms and rain. Imagine if the drought and dry spells across some of the worlds most barren areas could be a thing of the past? If this technology develops further it could prove a great solution to some of the world’s biggest food problems.

Condensation, storms and lightning are all elements of the weather that are based on static electricity. The researchers at the universities have been using a series of two lasers, one beam surrounding the other, to cause the lasers to be able to be fired high into the atmosphere. As the heat of the laser beams collapse into one another it becomes so intense that it makes what is described as a “soup of electronics” as explained by Matthew Mills. With the application of a doughnut like metal dress around a filament it can extend the reach of the beam. With this technology we could send laser beams to help prevent natural disasters, cause rain in much needed areas of the world and help create a safer environment.

Laser’s are Improving the World’s access to the internet

Recently facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that they be developing some exciting online technologies to help get the whole world online. The technology revolves around the use of satellites being sent up into earth’s atmosphere to act as moving connections, helping connect the users to the internet, creating a cheaper and wider reception area for online interaction than with the previous static internet distribution towers connected by underground wiring. As they fly in orbit around the world’s atmosphere they would communicate information to small moving receiver stations by sending information through lasers, similar to infrared technology that exists in phones. This technology has been able to transfer large and intense bits of data at the same rate of current fibre optic technology, perhaps revealing a future development for wireless data communication.

The results so far have been incredibly promising, with 3 million new people in the Philippines and Paraguay gaining access to the internet. Google have also entered into the quest of giving everyone in the world access with their own initiatives. The benefits of a globally accessed internet is clear, the more users we have then more global communication we receive producing an incredible humanitarian and political end goal. All this is thanks, in part, to lasers.

The technological advances that lasers have afforded us seem almost infinite. As we’ve seen from the numerous recent breakthroughs and this is only scratching the surface. As with our proud laser cutting services, lasers are constantly changing the way we live our lives and perceive the world.

If you can think of any other incredible scientific breakthrough that have been the result of lasers let us know in the comments below!

Yorkshire Profiles Ltd

Yorkshire Profiles Ltd