From left are Dr Sandile Ngcobo, Liesl Burger, Prof Andrew Forbes and Dr Igor Litvin
Researchers at the CSIR designed and developed a digital laser which offers a method of controlling and altering a laser beam’s shape from within the unit. Traditionally, beams have to be altered as they leave the laser or via a costly refit to change the positioning of mirrors. By replacing one of the mirrors with a liquid crystal display, researchers were able to alter the beam at will. The innovation is regarded as a milestone in laser technology and could spur future laser-related developments. Thanks to his innovation, scientists will able to digitally control laser beams and shape new ways of developing technology that will improve various aspects of everyday life such as faster broadband and medical advancements. There are numerous potential uses for this technology from medicine to communications. This is a significant advancement from the traditional approach to laser beam control, which requires costly optics and realignment of the laser device for every beam change.