Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder in the United States, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) in Germany have found success in developing the world’s sharpest laser ever with a linewidth of 10 miliHertz (mHz).

According to its developers, the new laser boasts record-breaking precision and emits light that can travel 2 Million Miles before going out of sync. It would help scientists build even more precise optical atomic clocks, better spectroscopic instruments, and even collect more accurate radio astronomy data.

The new technique can also assist scientists in testing Einstein’s theory of relativity.

What is laser?

Laser technology was first demonstrated more than 50 years ago in 1960. Since then, this technology has found its use in a variety of applications including medicine, industry, and information technology, as well as in James Bond and Star Wars movies. Laser is an acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.” The technology works on the principle of optical amplification. Recently, this technology made possible the discovery of gravitational waves when scientists beamed two laser lights into space and then tried to detect tiny fluctuations in space-time.

A laser light, in theoretical terms, has only one frequency, color, or wavelength.

However, in reality, every laser has a certain linewidth. When laser technology was first developed, it was thought it would not require further refining, but with passage of time and advancement of technology, the need for more precise laser lasers was felt by scientists. The spectrum of most laser lights reaches from a few kHz to a few MHz in width, and because of this limitation, researchers keep on trying to develop better lasers with narrow linewidth and greater frequency.

In an optical clock, the narrow linewidth of a laser results in more precise measurement of the atom’s frequency.

Testing of new laser

The experimental testing of the new laser was carried out at PTB in Germany. The frequency of light emitted by this laser was found to be more precise than achieved by other lasers to date. According to researchers, the light of this laser goes out of sync 11 seconds after beaming, that is, after travelling a distance of about 2 million miles.

Scientists are now using the new laser to carry out precision measurements on ultracold atoms. They are also working to further reduce the linewidth and bring it below 1 MHz.

The detailed findings of this research have been published in Physical Review Letters.