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Shark Science

Researchers Use Lasers For Cooling 132

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-it-cool dept.
MatthewVD writes "Infrared cameras on satellites and night vision goggles could soon use lasers to cool their components. According to the study published in Nature, researchers in Singapore were able to cool the semiconductor cadmium sulfide from 62 degrees fahrenheit to -9 degrees by focusing a green laser on it and making it fluoresce and lose energy as light. Since they require neither gas nor moving parts, they can be more compact, free from vibration and not prone to mechanical failure."
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Researchers Use Lasers For Cooling

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  • by jackb_guppy (204733) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @10:09PM (#42677005)

    I seen some cool case mods with glowing lights, now they could actually serve a propose! Neat.

    • Singapore is a tiny island nation, with a tiny population of 4 million citizens (the actually number of people living on that island is 5+ millions, but with close to 2 millions being non-citizens).

      I guess congratulations are in order for that tiny nation for funding these type of advance research !

      Perhaps t'is another indication of the shift from the West to the East,

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 24, 2013 @03:05AM (#42678335)

      Sorry about hijacking this thread, but nobody seems to have posted the temperatures in a proper scale yet, so here we go:

      Researchers in Singapore were able to cool the semiconductor cadmium sulfide from 17 degrees Celsius to -23 degrees

      • by Cmdrm (1683042)
        A proper scale? Shouldn't it be in Kalvin then?

        Researchers in Singapore were able to cool the semiconductor cadmium sulfide from 290 degrees Kalvin to 250 degrees Kalvin

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          A proper scale? Shouldn't it be in Kalvin then?

          Researchers in Singapore were able to cool the semiconductor cadmium sulfide from 290 Kelvin to 250 Kelvin

          Fixed your fix.

        • by Cmdrm (1683042)

          A proper scale? Shouldn't it be in Kelvin then?

          Researchers in Singapore were able to cool the semiconductor cadmium sulfide from 290 degrees Kelvin to 250 degrees Kelvin

          Fixed it for myself

          • by Cmdrm (1683042)

            A proper scale? Shouldn't it be in Kelvin then?

            Researchers in Singapore were able to cool the semiconductor cadmium sulfide from 290 Kelvin to 250 Kelvin

            Fixed it for myself

            Fcuk, I shouldn't comment after flying (Kelvin are absolute units)

        • by ChrisMaple (607946) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @05:32AM (#42678729)
          No, it should be in Hobbes.
    • by arc86 (1815912)
      If you want to turn 40 watts of heat into blue light, I'm figuring that's something like 5000 lumens you're creating according to the luminosity function. That's a conference room projector worth of light. Then you have to figure the laser power required to get that much heat out, which according to the article's 2 percent efficiency estimate would be...a lot. I don't know how "cooling efficiency" is defined. Ideally you'd move the emission to infrared, but that would be disastrous for your night vision
      • Rapid pulsing lasers (femtolasers) can drastically increase the wattage without actually increasing the number of joules drawn. Without having read the article (this is /. after all), it seems to me that using a pulsed laser would actually be better for this kind of application, because the medium being cooled needs time to actually let off the photons being generated.

        That being said, yes, I imagine that active cooling methods are probably significantly more energy efficient, at least for the moment. A pelt

  • by c0lo (1497653) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @10:17PM (#42677051)
    So, shining a green laser into some goggles: what can go wrong?
  • Pff (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @10:18PM (#42677061)

    Been saying lasers are cool for ages, but do they listen to me? Nooo...

    • Re:Pff (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ackthpt (218170) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @11:01PM (#42677339) Homepage Journal

      Been saying lasers are cool for ages, but do they listen to me? Nooo...

      So I'm out with the astronomy club with all our cool glass and tubes and stuff and have people looking at Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, M-13, fun stuff like that there. Someone asks, "Which star is Sirius?" I pull out my laser pointer and show them. Little kid says, "Whoa! That's COOL! Mom! Buy me one!"

      I tell the mother, "No, do not buy him one. Laser is not toy. Can blind himself or a friend with it. Under no circumstances should you buy him a laser. Buy him a UV flashlight to look at centipedes or something."

      Lasers are cool, but only for grown up kids.

      • Re:Pff (Score:4, Interesting)

        by GumphMaster (772693) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @12:25AM (#42677793)

        These pointer lasers are controlled items in many places because, aside from the obvious general hazard, morons deliberately point them at aircraft cockpits. Only occasionally do the fools get identified [abc.net.au] but it warms the cockles of my heart when they do: I am an amateur astronomer and have also been involved in the airborne end of this stupidity.

        • by deimtee (762122)
          A moron indeed. You need to be a malicious arsehole to point one at a plane, but how dumb do you have to be to point it at a Police helicopter!
      • Agreed, having worked with a lab that certifies products sold in the US (21 cfr) and internationally (60825-1 and -2), lasers have gotten more powerful and compact than most folks realize. Class 4 lasers are easily integrated into the handheld green pointers that most of us have seen. What isnt realized is that the 150mw pointers that will blind you like a thief in the night. I have posted blue 445nm and green 532nm lasers to youtube that I have made burning through objects in close proximity, remember t
    • by mat8913 (2654467)
      I liked lasers before they were cool.
  • How efficient is this process? Would it be useful as a general replacement for current refrigeration technology?
    • I think it only cools things which fluoresce.

      • That shouldn't be an obstacle, as current refrigeration technology doesn't directly cool the air in your fridge/home/office either. It would be possible to cool some object using the laser then use the low temperature of the now cold object to cool the surrounding air. However as long as the efficiency is indeed 1.2-2% as mentioned in an adjacent comment this is no replacement for current A/C tech.
        • by skids (119237)

          However as long as the efficiency is indeed 1.2-2% as mentioned in an adjacent comment this is no replacement for current A/C tech.

          I guess that depends on how efficiently the fluoresced light (and refracted laser light) can be converted back into electricity.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      How efficient is this process? Would it be useful as a general replacement for current refrigeration technology?

      Depends on the temperature you start cooling at but between 1.2 and 2% so dont expect to see it in a fridge any time soon.

    • by dywolf (2673597)

      Possibly not too efficient. But, this process has a huge advantage over current methods that is completely ignored by the article and many slashdotters so far: it would work in a vacuum. And when you're the only viable method in town for a certain niche, efficiency doesnt matter so much.

    • Yeah, but when you close the door, the light will go on!
  • by Brad1138 (590148) <brad1138@yahoo.com> on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @10:29PM (#42677145)
    It would freeze the water around the shark.
  • Rubidium (Score:4, Informative)

    by DarwinSurvivor (1752106) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @10:30PM (#42677149)
    This has been used to cool rubidium to near 0K in labs for a while. Takes some work (the laser needs to be *perfect*), but I've seen the setup myself at a previous employ at a local University.
    • Re:Rubidium (Score:5, Informative)

      by Noughmad (1044096) <miha.cancula@gmail.com> on Thursday January 24, 2013 @03:50AM (#42678465) Homepage

      No, this is different. What you describe is called Doppler cooling [wikipedia.org] and is basically "slowing down" the atoms/ions.

      TFA, on the other hand, talks about using a laser to cause fluorescence in the material. It's a completely different principle.

      • Yes, your description is just how it was explained to me. I wasn't sure if the one in the article used a similar process. I do remember the rubidium "glowing" so I thought it might be the same.
  • How is this news? Scientists have been doing this to make BECs FOR AGES.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If you actually read the paper (hah), you will see that the mechanism is pretty different (solid state vs gas).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @10:39PM (#42677217)

    The scientists used SI units all the way through in their paper (Kelvin for temperature), and they would have been laughed out of court and certainly not published in Nature if they'd done otherwise.

    Why does Slashdot even accept a submission in Fahrenheit when the subject is science? Most nerds understand SI units, and most of the planet is metric. How about trying to be a bit educational for the few that don't? Quote both if you're trying to be helpful, with the SI units as primary for science reporting and imperial equivalents only in brackets.

    • Why does Slashdot even accept a submission in Fahrenheit when the subject is science?

      Because you can't do car analogies in SI units. It just doesn't work.

      • Why does Slashdot even accept a submission in Fahrenheit when the subject is science?

        Because you can't do car analogies in SI units. It just doesn't work.

        Metric is fine for car analogies. Contemporary cars need metric tools, even US domestics.

      • by bar-agent (698856)

        Why does Slashdot even accept a submission in Fahrenheit when the subject is science?

        Because you can't do car analogies in SI units. It just doesn't work.

        Yeah. It's like...talking about the miles per gallon of an electric car.

    • In tech circles, english units are the Steampunk of measurements.

    • by tsa (15680)

      This. But the US probably thinks that together with Lyneria and Muanmar they are the only developed countries on the planet.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      If it was in Celsius or Kelvin US readers wouldn't know whether to wear a coat or shorts when they went to visit the laser.

    • by gef7 (1789448)
      Information which passes via US news redistribution streams is obviously mangled... business as usual!
  • by tsa (15680) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @10:55PM (#42677315) Homepage

    But what cools the laser?

  • I've been looking for new ways to keep my flux capacitor cool.

  • ... you make the light sensor more efficient by making it fluoresce?

    Um, right. Good luck with that.

  • The novel Sundiver [wikipedia.org] by David Brin did this; they used a powerful laser to suck heat out of the Sundiver craft within the atmosphere of the Sun.

  • How does this compare with peltier cooling? Is there some obvious reason (e.g. no airflow) why peltier won't work in space?

    • I think peltier would be inefficient in space...you need power to run it, and you could add heat exchangers to a passive cooling system instead of the solar panels needed to run the peltier cooler.

      • Depends on the desired temperature, where you are in space, and where you have to move the heat from and to, and how much heat you have to move. Peltier coolers are indeed used in space, along with many other cooling technologies. All active coolers in space get tied to passive radiators to dump the waste heat.

  • by Twinbee (767046) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @12:28AM (#42677817) Homepage
    Would it be possible to cool CPU chip surfaces by coating them with this glowing material to achieve the same effect?
  • by drwho (4190) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @12:29AM (#42677823) Homepage Journal

    Handy for things like uranium isotope separation, and also for creating things like Bosenovas. The problem is, that the process is very sensitive to the frequency of the laser. If these guys have found a way to reliably, inexpensively create the right frequency of light to cool anything...then that substance can act as a heat sink to cool other substance. This could open a whole exciting new era of science and technology. But I won't hold my breathe, the proof is in the pudding, etc.

    • by cusco (717999)
      When I first read your post I was wondering how a laser could create Brazilian music (bossa nova), but I guess an exploding Bose-Einstein Condensate is worth checking out too.
  • by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @12:29AM (#42677827) Homepage

    We have our refrigerator laser, now all we need is a stasis generator, to "control the flow of tune and space through the body of the Sunship, so that the violent tossing of the chromosphere would seem a gentle rocking to those inside." And I'm sure we'll have that any day now.

    Yup.

    Any.
    Day.
    Now.

  • Finally they can keep their kills from rotting so they can eat them later.
  • That must be why the mother ship has all those lights. Cooling lasers. The overlords see in the heat spectrum (or not at all) and so never expected us to detect them. Blaart: It's like the huuuman is looking right at ussss. Pleaotard: Not possible, Overlord Blaartumus. We have the cooling lasers working overtime.

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