Brit boffin’s maser discovery could revolutionize communications

Maser. There’s a term you probably don’t hear a lot.

Lasers? Sure. Light Amplification by Simulated Emission of Radiation. But what is a “maser?”

Masers are the same basic concept as lasers, but instead of light, they use microwave radiation to achieve the same directed, coherent radiation. In simplest terms, both technologies can create a beam of radiation that can be aimed and manipulated for all kinds of purposes. And even though maser technology was the first type of simulated radiation technology that both the United States and USSR played with in the 50’s, maser technology was mired in clunky systems and deep-freeze temperatures needed to create it. Even then, the output was only a few nanowatts, hardly enough to be useful for most applications.

But based on long-ago Japanese discoveries, a British scientists was able to create a room-temperature maser that was thousands of times more powerful. This technology could make masers cheaper, smaller and much more useful, meaning there is a new weapon in the arsenal of communications technologies.

Of course, there is also some discussion online about masers being used as actual, directed-energy weapons. But I suppose that’s just drearily predictable.

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.