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Gizmorama - February 13, 2018

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Lasers are formed by chaos. That's crazy, right? Hey, it's science!

Learn about this and more interesting stories from the scientific community in today's issue.

Until Next Time,

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*-- New imaging technology shows laser pulses are formed from chaos --*

New imaging technology shows laser pulses are formed from chaos.

Lasers, invented in the 1960s, have become a mainstay of science and technology, but surprisingly, scientists still don't entirely understand the laser pulse formation process.

"The reason why understanding these lasers has been so difficult is because the pulses they produce are typically of picosecond duration or shorter," Goëry Genty, a photonics researcher at the Tampere University of Technology in Finland, said in a news release. "Following the complex build-up dynamics of such short pulses for the hundreds, sometimes thousands, of bursts before the laser actually stabilizes has been beyond the capability of optical measurement techniques."

New imaging technology developed by Genty and his colleagues enable scientists to, for the first time, record the temporal and spectral properties of laser pulses at sub-picosecond resolution. Researchers used a computer algorithm to analyze the data and reveal the characteristics of the electromagnetic forces responsible for the laser pulse formation.

Scientists shared their findings this week in the journal Nature Photonics.

"The results provide a very convenient laboratory example of what is known as a 'dissipative soliton system' which is a central concept in nonlinear science and also relevant to studies in other fields, such as biology, medicine and possibly even social sciences," said John. M. Dudley, a researcher at the University of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.

Analysis of the evolving electromagnetic field during the laser pulse formation revealed self-organizing, wave-like structures, or solitons, forming out of a variety of seemingly random interactions -- from chaos, or noise.

"The results provide a completely new window on previously unseen interactions between emerging dissipative solitons in form of collisions, merging or collapse," Genty said.

*-- New 'HSC Viewer' allows public to access Subaru Telescope images --*

The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan has released the HSC Viewer to help the public access observations of the universe made by the Subaru Telescope and its Hyper Suprime-Cam.

"I developed this viewer so the general public can become familiar with the latest, extensive HSC data," astronomer Michitaro Koike said in a Thursday news release. "I hope you enjoy exploring the universe which the Subaru Telescope observes."

The Hyper Suprime-Cam Subaru Strategic Program, a survey of the universe's billions of galaxies, is being executed by NAOJ in partnership with the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe in Japan, Taiwan's Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics and Princeton University in the United States.

HSC-SSP scientists have released two datasets collected as part of the survey. Now, scientists have offered the public an easier way to access and explore the data.

Subaru's Hyper Suprime-Cam is capable of capturing both optical and infrared images. When complete, the HSC-SSP survey will have collected astronomical data over the course of 300 nights.

"Since 2014, we have been observing the sky with HSC, a wide-field camera with high resolution," said Satoshi Miyazaki, lead HSC-SSP scientist. "We believe the data release will lead to many exciting astronomical results, from exploring the nature of dark matter and dark energy, as well as asteroids in our own solar system objects and galaxies in the early universe. Moreover, we hope that interested members of the public will also access the data and enjoy the real universe imaged by the Subaru Telescope on Maunakea."


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