Nov 20, 2015 I Paul Seaburn

Lightsabers and Freeze Rays are Now Available

Just in time for Christmas, operational lightsabers and freeze rays are available for that hard-to-shop-for Jedi or super villain in your family. While they won’t match the performance of their movie counterparts, these inventions definitely work and show it’s only a matter of time before we’re all Yoda or Mr. Freeze.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that researchers from the University of Washington used an infrared laser beam not to heat but to cool water. They shot the infrared beam at a nano-crystal suspended in water until it emitted a special light that gave off more energy than it absorbed.

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The green light means the laser is cooling instead of heating

The hotter light drew heat away from the crystal, cooling the water around it. At the end, the water temperature dropped by 20 degrees C (36 degrees F). While this laser refrigeration technique has been used since 1995 in a vacuum, this is the first time it’s been used to cool water.

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Budding Mr. Freezes - researchers Peter Pauzauskie, Xuezhe Zhou, Bennett Smith, Matthew Crane and Paden Roder

Other than freezing Batman, practical applications for this type of laser refrigeration include cooling small areas of a microprocessor or reducing the temperature of part of a single cell. Its size is still on a nano scale but that is expected to change soon.

On the other hand, the new lightsaber is ready to cut through solid steel like butter – really hard butter, but it’s still promising.

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"Professional Use Only" - yeah, right!

Developed by Energetic Materials & Products for the military, the TEC Torch is a flashlight-sized 13-inch-long, one pound cylinder that, when the button is pressed, emits a vaporized metal flame registering at over 4,000 degrees F.

The concentrated jet of metal lasts only a few seconds but that’s enough time for it to cut through thick steel bars, locks and most other things it touches. While designed for military applications, the TEC Torch is now being sold to first responders for rescue operations. In addition, it can work underwater, making it a tool for divers as well.

With only seconds before it flames out, the Tech Torch won’t do well against an actual lightsaber but its metal-cutting power would definitely scare away steel droids.

The refrigerating laser and TEC Torch are proof that, if you wait long enough, cool stuff from the movies will eventually be invented. Come on hoverboards!


Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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