Beams go in, but they don't come out
A new antilaser device absorbs laser beams so well that barely a scrap of energy escapes. But if its whimsical name conjures up Star Wars–style visions of laser armor, curb your enthusiasm.
“This is the worst laser shield you could ever invent,” says Douglas Stone, a physicist and member of the Yale team that describes the device in the Feb. 18 Science. Because the antilaser soaks up energy, “R2-D2 would melt into a puddle if protected by our device.”
Instead, the prototype antilaser — which absorbs only a narrow range of infrared wavelengths — may be useful for designing light-based devices integrated into electronic computer chips.