Scientists capture laser bouncing off a mirror on video

Shane McGlaun - Jan 28, 2015, 7:30am CST
Scientists capture laser bouncing off a mirror on video

The fact that lasers can be bounced off a mirror is nothing new. Anyone with a laser pointer can figure this out for themselves and researchers have been bouncing lasers off mirrors for years. A group of scientists has captured the flight path of a laser beam on video for the first time. Capturing the laser on video is much more difficult than it might seem.

The laser photons travel in a tight beam and we can only see them when the laser hits something that reflects the light to produce a visible dot. Researcher Genevieve Gariepy from the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK says that the challenge was to make a video of laser light moving directly in the air.

The researchers made a camera sensitive enough to pick up the few photons of laser light that scatter in air. The camera is made of a grid of detectors measuring 32 x 32 able to take images with precision and extreme speed. The team says that the camera is snapping the equivalent of 20 billion frames per second.

The camera was arranged to film a view of the side of a green laser beam that was fired at an arrangement of mirrors. The team fired 2 million pulses over a ten-minute period and were able to build up enough air scattered photos in the camera to track the laser path. The result is the video you can see below.

SOURCE: New Scientist


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