Amazing masers at the Royal Society

Maser core back lit with yellow pump light. Credit: Andrew Brookes AB Still Ltd

A team of LCN researchers is exhibiting at the prestigious Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in London (4-9 July).  The joint Imperial/UCL team, led by Professor Neil Alford, has developed a new room-temperature form of maser (a device similar to to the familiar laser, but using microwaves rather than visible light).

Although the invention of the maser pre-dated that of the laser, until this team's recent advances all maser devices could operate only at sub-freezing temperatures and strong magnetic fields.  The LCN team’s new approach could have implications for the practical use of microwaves in a range of noisy environments, from mobile phone networks to communication with satellites and planetary rovers.

A replica of the very first maser device will be on display to visitors at the Royal Society, and they’ll be able to get up close to a replica maser crystal made by the jewellery manufacturer Swarovski as well as getting hands-on experience of the effects of electromagnetic noise when navigating a remote-controlled ‘Mars Rover'.

Professor Alford says that the exhibition "gives researchers a valuable opportunity to engage with the public. On behalf of my fellow exhibitors, I’d like to welcome you to come along to this year’s event and see what we’ve been working on.”

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