JUL 25, 2017 7:24 AM PDT

Lasers Can Be Really Cool Too...


When you think of lasers, most think of intense heat. Lasers can be used to break up tumors and stones, they can cut through metal and wood, and they can even burn your hair off. Ouch. However, they can be used to cool things off as well. The difference between something being hot or cold is essentially about how fast the molecules in that substance are moving. In a hot liquid, the molecules are moving around, creating energy and heat. In something that is cold, or even frozen, there's not much movement in the molecules, thus less energy, and less heat.

So how does adding energy, via a laser, make things cooler, if energy causes molecules to move around and heat up? Well, light in addition to having energy, has momentum, even without mass. So when a molecule in motion is going in one direction, light, with its momentum, can be focused on it by pushing against the direction it's going in and shoving it back, slowing its motion down. Slowing down the motion of a molecule will cool it off. Of course, molecules don't just move in a linear path, they bounce all over the place, so multiple lasers are needed from every direction to slow the roll of a fast moving molecule and cool it down. They won't completely stop, but they will be affected enough to have temperatures drop.
About the Author
English
I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
NOV 06, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The Most Powerful X-ray Source On Earth
NOV 06, 2020
The Most Powerful X-ray Source On Earth
Located inside the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Z Pulsed Power Facility (or Z Machine) i ...
DEC 28, 2020
Space & Astronomy
China Willing to Share New Moon Samples
DEC 28, 2020
China Willing to Share New Moon Samples
China has recovered the first new moon rock samples in decades, and from a previously unexplored part of the moon. Now w ...
MAR 14, 2021
Immunology
How Are Allergies Developed?
MAR 14, 2021
How Are Allergies Developed?
You might have experienced it yourself or met someone that can not eat a certain food or can not take a specific medicat ...
APR 09, 2021
Plants & Animals
Celebrating National Pet Day
APR 09, 2021
Celebrating National Pet Day
Sunday, April 11, is National Pet Day! From pandemic companions to viral videos, pets are a huge part of our lives. Even ...
JUN 22, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Report Finds Most First-Time Cannabis Users are Women
JUN 22, 2021
Report Finds Most First-Time Cannabis Users are Women
Chicago-based cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabis-focused market research organization, Brightfield Group, has published a ne ...
OCT 15, 2021
Health & Medicine
The Art of the Smize: Study Shows Eyes are More Active in Smiling Behind a Mask
OCT 15, 2021
The Art of the Smize: Study Shows Eyes are More Active in Smiling Behind a Mask
Mask wearing has become a part of our everyday lives. Something that we have all adapted to because of this is expressin ...
Loading Comments...