WASHINGTON – In 1960, the laser was invented as a useful tool to give off heat. Today, those beams of concentrated light have been converted to cooling and applied by researchers of the University of Washington to the reduction of the temperature of liquids and, in particular, of water. Peter Pauzauskie, one of the technological processing researchers commented ironically and with satisfaction: “Usually when we go to the cinema to see Star Wars or other movies we see the laser heat and dissolve everything. Today, for the first time, we have used it to refrigerate water, by reversing the process that warms it up when it is lit up.”
The benefits of the discovery
This invention could help both at the industrial level and within the framework of biochemistry. In the first case, this laser beam is useful to cool some specific components of the chips present in computer microprocessors. In the second case, scientists will be able to cool down, with precision, a part of a cell, thereby slowing down its processes, and have the opportunity to see how they work, and then intervene to “repair” it.
Pauzauskie, who is also a scientist at the US Department of Energy Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, explained that: “The scientific community has always shown great interest in the study of how cells, molecules and enzymes are divided. Use of the cooling laser can transform metabolic processes, recording them in slow motion and impacting only specific parts of the cell and not the entire cell, which would risk killing it or damaging its functioning.”
by editorial staff