Lasers: Scientists made a laser beam shaped like a photorealistic cat

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Laser beams normally take the shape of a dot, but by trapping light with liquid crystals, researchers have bent one into the shape of a photo of a cat



Physics



6 May 2022

A specially sculpted laser beam created this photorealistic image of a cat From the researcher: The whole image in the camera (CCD), showing the edges of the (Gaussian) beam, where the dark rectangle background (around the cat) shows the edges of the target image we used to imprint the phase. It is easy to notice it, because it is slightly misaligned with the CCD pixels.

A specially sculpted laser beam created this photorealistic image of a cat

P. Silva and S. Muniz

Researchers have encoded a picture of a cat into a single laser beam, demonstrating a simple system that can create detailed images within a beam of light. This technique could be used to more accurately manipulate ultra-cold atoms, which are used to perform simulations of quantum effects.

To trap a cloud of ultra-cold atoms, in order to manipulate them, you have to create what physicists call a potential – essentially a box that holds the atoms in place. …



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