Robotics

Smart microrobots walk autonomously with electronic 'brains'

Cornell University researchers have installed electronic "brains" on solar-powered robots that are 100 to 250 micrometers in size—smaller than an ant's head—so that they can walk autonomously without being externally ...

Engineering

Sandblasting with light

Sandblasting—that was yesterday. Laser beams can now clean and structure surfaces more precisely and cost-effectively and in more environmentally friendly ways than conventional systems. The Fraunhofer Institute for Material ...

Engineering

Laser polishes 3D-printed metal parts better than ever before

Researchers from Skoltech and MEPhI have devised a laser polishing technique that effectively removes both surface roughness and subsurface pores in intricately shaped metal parts manufactured with a 3D printer. Described ...

Engineering

Making nanodiamonds out of bottle plastic

What goes on inside planets like Neptune and Uranus? To find out, an international team headed by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), the University of Rostock and France's École Polytechnique conducted a novel ...

Engineering

Creating a perfect trap for light

Whether in photosynthesis or in a photovoltaic system: If you want to use light efficiently, you have to absorb it as completely as possible. However, this is difficult if the absorption is to take place in a thin layer of ...

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Laser

A laser is a device that emits light (electromagnetic radiation) through a process called stimulated emission. The term laser is an acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. Laser light is usually spatially coherent, which means that the light either is emitted in a narrow, low-divergence beam, or can be converted into one with the help of optical components such as lenses. Typically, lasers are thought of as emitting light with a narrow wavelength spectrum ("monochromatic" light). This is not true of all lasers, however: some emit light with a broad spectrum, while others emit light at multiple distinct wavelengths simultaneously. The coherence of typical laser emission is distinctive. Most other light sources emit incoherent light, which has a phase that varies randomly with time and position.

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