Everyone knows that lasers can be bright. From Goldfinger to Star Wars, intense lasers carry a "death ray" reputation in popular culture. But what is intense light, anyway? How can you even make or direct something that will blast to smithereens any material that it encounters? And how can something as ephemeral as a ray of light turn into an irresistible force? Is there an ultimate intensity, a brightest light? We'll answer these questions, and more.
Philip Bucksbaum is a atomic physicist. His main research interest is fundamental light-matter interactions, and especially the control of quantum systems using ultrafast laser fields. He develops new sources of ultrafast laser light in the infrared, visible, ultraviolet, and x-ray regions of the light spectrum.
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