Reverse Star Wars engineering – lasers to cool liquids

University of Washington researchers have found a way to make a laser refrigerate water and other liquids under real-world conditions, the University journal UW Today has reported. The team, said the report, used an infrared laser to cool water by about 2.22 degrees C, considered a major breakthrough in the field of refrigeration. “Typically, when you go to the movies and see Star Wars laser blasters, they heat things up,” Peter Pauzauskie, senior author and UW Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, was cited as saying. “This is the first example of a laser beam that will refrigerate liquids like water under everyday conditions.” The discovery is believed to have significant implications, as it could help industrial users “point cool” tiny areas with a focused point of light, with, for example, microprocessors using a laser beam to cool specific components in computer chips to prevent overheating, and enable more efficient information processing.