Recently, the University of Washington research team has successfully used an infrared laser to cool water.
According to Phys.org, the process uses a microscopic crystal suspended in water and an infrared laser light, to cool the water to about 36 degrees Fahrenheit.
The heat from the infrared laser excites a kind of glow from the crystal that has “slightly more energy than that amount of light absorbed” and “this higher-energy glow carries heat away from both the crystal and water surrounding it,” Phys.org reported.
“The real challenge of the project was building an instrument and devising a method capable of determining the temperature of these nanocrystals using signatures of the same light that was used to trap them,” Paden Roder, lead author of the UW team, said. But the team has managed to overcome this challenge by creating an instrument that not only uses a laser trap to “hold” a nanocrystal in place, but also projects a “shadow” to detect changes in the particle’s motion.
The UW team hopes that “one day the cooling technology itself might be used to enable higher-power lasers for manufacturing, telecommunications or defense applications.”
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