Harnessing light - possibilities and challenges
Nowadays, more than ever before, had light-based technologies become an everyday thing. It is something that you can see almost all over the world and the poorest countries are or will be adapting those technologies very soon. Light gives us limitless possibilities and it seems like that's one of the main topics in physics to be researched from now on. Why is that? Let us try to stop for a minute and answer this question.
1. It's extremely fast
We are far far far behind when it comes to utilization of light's speed. We still do not know how to safely create a light-powered engine but the research is in place. We can use solar panels but they seem to be power-insufficient for such a task. We can use laser to power engines as well but this is hard to maintain and there exists a big problem with power efficiency. A laser needs power to be fired so is the engine able to provide more power than the laser needs and still run? Those are the challenges but those answers will come and they will come soon. I believe we are drawing on to a new era.
2. It's everywhere
Light is something which, as long as the sun shines on the sky, will be available for us in great abundancy. Should we have a more efficient way of gathering and storing sun-light power, we would have a great and safe source of electricity. It is still not that efficient but given time, we will perfect the technology behind to story more and more efficient.
3. It's applications seem to be limitless
Optic-wires, sun panels, lasers for both decoration and weaponry... and those are only those that we already know of and use on everyday basis. How many more will we be able to uncover, given the time. The ultimate goal is to create an engine which we will be able to go at light speed with. Even though it does not seem likely to be created very soon, we can already see some development in area of light-fueled engines. For example, there have already been some models of small saucer-like spaceships created, which run fueled by a beam of laser. The engine aggregates the laser's light which, when dense enough, turns into plasma and starts to emit shockwaves facing the opposite direction which finally enables it to propel the whole model. On the top of that, scientists observed that the newly invented graphene (for more info on graphen, please check: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphene) can be moved with a single light laser beam. You just need to hit a piece of graphene with a small, pocket, key-chain pendant like red laser and voila! it flies. And it is just scratching the surface of the wonderful world of optics sciences.
There is no doubt in my mind that lasers and the power of light is our future. No matter if we are talking about military application or power storage or spacecrafts. Light is still one of the most misterious phenomena in the known world and harnessing its power may be the key to the future of human kind.