In the anti-laser, incoming light waves are trapped in a cavity where they bounce back and forth until they are eventually absorbed. Their energy is dissipated as heat. Credit: Yidong Chong/Yale University
More than 50 years after the invention of the laser, scientists at Yale University have built the world’s first anti-laser, in which incoming beams of light interfere with one another in such a way as to perfectly cancel each other out. The discovery could pave the way for a number of novel technologies with applications in everything from optical computing to radiology.