Everybody loves a superhero. Wouldn’t it be cool to shoot lasers from your eyes? A team from Scotland’s University of St. Andrews spent a number of months developing a laser sticker to simulate the closest thing to possessing superpowers.
The research team developed ultra-thin and bendable lasers that are directly applied to the surface of the eyes via contact lenses. The result is truly mind-boggling. It results in short and readable pulses of laser light emitted from the eyes.
Findings from the research appear in a study, titled “Flexible and ultra-lightweight polymer membrane lasers”, which was published on May 1st in the Nature journal. The team was trying to create an organic semiconductor with a greater flexibility than any of that developed before and to “demonstrate [its] integration on contact lenses as wearable security tags.”
The team elaborates on the number of uses in the paper. “By combining recently developed roll-to-roll nanoimprint and organic inkjet printing technology, membrane lasers could be mass-produced with high reproducibility and at low cost.” The team also highlighted in the paper the laser’s use on banknotes as a possible application, “where the unique lasing spectrum is readily read out and used a security feature”.
The various stages involved in the entire process of transferring and securing the tiny stickers from start to finish can be seen in the figure below. It also shows the scale of the lasers with its application to a human thumbnail.
Paper co-author and University of Saint Andrews Professor Ifor Samuel discussed the impact of the laser: “By floating a thin plastic film off a substrate we have made some of the world’s smallest and lightest lasers and put them on contact lenses and bank notes.”
This is a huge step forward in the security network of the future and just hearing the phrase shooting lasers out of the eyes sounds cool.