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Transmitting data from space to earth with laser filaments

Transmitting data from space to earth with laser filaments
A laser filament – created by the interaction between a pulsed laser and the plasma sphere it creates – will make it possible to send optical data to satellites through atmospheric interference. Credit: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Could light be used to transmit information between satellites and Earth? Atmospheric water vapor scatters and absorbs light energy, but overcome that obstacle, and light will carry far more information and move it faster than the radio waves we currently rely on. A new research project, supported by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, proposes to use the properties of light itself to punch a pathway for data through the clouds.


“My work is understanding the constituents of light and manipulating them to interact with matter. In recent years, we’ve seen more advances in using light for biomedical imaging and quantum computing, but the fundamental properties of manipulating light are the same, and light can be

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Nanomotors controlled with laser light

Laser-powered nanomotors chart their own course
Credit: University of Tokyo

Researchers from the Institute of Industrial Science, the University of Tokyo (UTokyo-IIS) have designed novel linear nanomotors that can be moved in controlled directions using light. This work opens the way for new microfluidics, including lab-on-a-chip systems with optically actuated pumps and valves.


The world of nanoscale machines looks very different to the one containing the contraptions to which we have become accustomed. For example, powering and precisely controlling a motor smaller than a single bacterium can be much more difficult than, say, driving a car.

Now, a team of scientists led by UTokyo-IIS have introduced a system of linear motors made from gold nanorods that can move in a controlled direction when exposed to laser light. Like a sailboat that can move in any desired direction by adjusting the rigging, these nanomotors are not constrained to follow the direction of the light. Rather, they move

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Observing magnon-polarons using a nanopatterned magnetic structure lit by short laser pulses

Observing magnon-polarons using a nanopatterned magnetic structure lit by short laser pulses
In a nanopatterned magnetic structure illuminated by a short laser pulse, magnons and photons couple to form quasiparticles called magnon-polarons. Credit: APS/Alan Stonebraker/ Physics

A team of physicists from Germany, Russia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom has found a new way to observe magnon-polarons by using a nanopatterned magnetic structure lit with short laser pulses. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review B, the group describes extending prior research involving magnon-polarons to develop a better method for observing magnon polarons.


Magnons are quantized spin waves that carry information, but because they are difficult to manipulate, there have been no practical applications. Polarons are quasiparticles that have been used by researchers to study interactions between atoms and electrons in solid materials. Both magnons and polarons are the subject of research efforts aimed at packing more information into smaller spaces (for computers, smartphones, etc.) Some of that research has

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Chicopee laser company, 2 Springfield colleges to create research and education facility with $2.5 million state grant

CHICOPEE – A local business that specializes in creating and supplying high-tech lasers will partner with Westfield New England University to establish a research and development center and strengthen the school’s education program with the help of a $2.5 million state grant.

The project that will join Convergent Photonics with the university is the fourth of its kind statewide and the first in Western Massachusetts. Springfield Technical Community College will also be involved in the program.

“It is such an amazing project. I’m so glad they picked Chicopee for it,” Mayor John L. Vieau said. “This will give them an advanced labor force with skilled workers.”

The award was announced in a small event at the company’s headquarters on 117 East Main St. Mike Kennealy, state director of Housing and Economic Development, Western New England President Robert Johnson, State Reps. Joseph Wagner and Jose Tosado, company leaders and others attended.

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Laser technology used to measure biomass of giant Californian redwood trees

Oct. 15 (UPI) — For the first time, researchers have executed a three-dimensional survey of the world’s biggest trees, using laser technology to precisely measure the volume and biomass of Northern Californian redwoods.

Researchers detailed the feat in a new paper published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports.

California’s giant redwood trees play an outsized role in above ground carbon sequestration, and have a larger impact on their ecosystems than their more diminutive neighbors.

“They are also very hard to measure and so tend to be underrepresented in measurements and models of above ground biomass,” Mat Disney, professor of geography at University College London, said in a news release.

Researchers used ground-based lasers to measure the biomass of large coastal redwood trees, Sequoia sempervirens, at three forest sites in Northern California. Scientists hope the data will help them more precisely monitor the impacts of climate change on redwood forests.

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