A team of scientists from Yale University headed by professor Douglas Stone has built the world's first anti-laser. That is a device that can cancel out a laser beam.

It all sounds a bit James Bond, but this device is not designed as a defence against futuristic laser beam weapons but as a type of switch that can bu used to contril the next generation of computers that may well operate using light as opposed to electrons.

The idea was to create a device that, instead of concentrating light into a beam it would break the beam down and dissipate the energy.

They built an apparatus that focusses two laser beams into an optical cavity made of silicon. The light then bounces around until they run out of energy, they have shown that 99.4% of the energy can be extracted by converting it into heat for a certain wavelength.

That means that if you alter the wavelength of the laser, the beam would be unaffected and that is how the machine is effectively switched on and off. Being able to cut the beam off only it is at that specific wavelength means that it could be used in a computer based on light.

Professor Stone said that the device would not be much use as a defence against a laser weapon as the heat generated would fry you anyway.

Wouldn't have helped James Bond out of his well known predicament, unless of course he had been wearing asbestos underwear. I wonder what Q would have made of it?

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