- Laser light is generated by pumping energy into atoms or other objects. A chain reaction can occur in which energized atoms all stimulate each other to give off laser light. However, despite years of research, scientists had not discovered a way to generate air lasers intense enough for practical use.
- Researchers have developed a new technique that could allow practical air lasers. This strategy is up to 200 times more efficient than previous methods when it comes to creating air lasers from atmospheric components such as nitrogen.
- The new strategy involves two lasers of different colors. First, an infrared laser pulse breaks apart the nitrogen and oxygen molecules in the air into their constituent atoms. Next, an ultraviolet laser pulse can excite either the nitrogen or oxygen atoms, depending on which frequency of ultraviolet light is chosen, making the atoms give off near-infrared light like a laser.
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