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Pioneering Laser Cooling Method Achieves Record-Breaking Ultra-Cold Silica

Researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer IOF Institute and the University of New Mexico have made a historic breakthrough, successfully cooling silica glass by an astonishing 67 K. This feat, detailed in Optics Express, was accomplished using a novel laser cooling technique, a process traditionally associated with heating. The method, known as anti-Stokes fluorescence, involves exciting a material with a laser to induce cooling.

 

Pioneering Laser Cooling Method Achieves Record-Breaking Ultra-Cold Silica

Setting New Benchmarks in Silica Glass Cooling

Defying long-held beliefs, scientists have once again surpassed the cooling limits of silica glass. Initially, in 2019, a modest temperature reduction of 0.7 K was achieved. Today, thanks to optimized material composition and advanced excitation lasers, a new record has been set with a temperature drop of 67 K in just two minutes, using a 97-watt laser at 1,032 nanometers.

Fiber Applications Herald a New Wave of Technological Advancements

This breakthrough heralds a new era for potential applications, including ultra-stable lasers and low-noise amplifiers for quantum experiments and precision metrology. The technique promises advancements in cryomicroscopy and gamma spectroscopy, impacting materials analysis and medical diagnostics. Additionally, the potential integration into fibers could revolutionize high-performance fiber lasers, eliminating thermal instability concerns.

While this development is a significant leap in laser cooling, researchers suggest that even lower temperatures could be achieved, indicating an exciting future for the technology.

Reference:

Topper, B., et al. (2024) Laser cooling ytterbium doped silica by 67 K from ambient temperature. Optics Expressdoi.org/10.1364/OE.507657

Source: https://www.unm.edu/

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