For A Cool Tool, Try Lasers

STAR WARS SCIENTISTS AT LOS ALAMOS National Laboratory are turning death rays into--would you believe?--refrigerators. Normally, lasers zap their targets with heat and can even melt solid steel. So how can a laser cool something? By tuning the laser beam so its energy "excites" the target's atoms in a special, quantum-mechanical way. This causes the atoms to emit fluorescent light, and since the emitted radiation contains more energy than was absorbed from the laser, the target loses energy and becomes cooler.

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