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"Dots" of plasma created by lasers create a three dimensional figure in open air - Courtesy AIST
By creating plasma in open air with lasers, Japanese scientists are working on a true 3D display

The Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) announced an exciting breakthrough in optoelectronics -- a working three dimensional display.  The display does not rely on any sort of optical illusion or disorientation. Instead, infrared lasers are aligned to converge and create small amounts of plasma.  The plasma acts as a floating "dot" on top of the laser grid. 

The infrared laser pulses across several reflectors so that 100 dots can be created per second.  The initial reports from AIST are a little light on details, but it appears as though the plasma dots can be drawn up to several meters away from the laser source. It also appears as though the device needs a vapor source with specific electron/ion content in order to generate the dots. 

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RE: Interesting, but not the holy grail
By rushnrockt on 2/10/2006 11:27:12 AM , Rating: 2
"I last heard this kind of technology mentioned for 3D printing,
using a solution which solidified when hit by two lasers at
the same time. I'm not sure that anything ever came of it, though."

Would that happen to be rapid prototyping? Which is basically an industry in itself nowadays? I am pretty sure that's what you are talking about.

"You also have to worry a bit where the lasers go after they
leave the display area. :-)"
My guess would be that they lose focus, so no worries, it won't burn your hair off.

By bob661 on 2/10/2006 11:47:32 AM , Rating: 2
I'm more worried about my block and tackle than my hair.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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