Lasers Made From Gin and Tonic; Let’s Get Drunk and Do Science!


Ever order a gin and tonic, only to watch the bartender take his sweet time? Don’t you just want to fry the bastard with a laser? Good news! You can make a laser out of the very gin and tonic he is taking forever to mix. Popular Mechanics has the process of how to turn happy hour into laser hour. WARNING: The following involves both lasers and alcohol, two things proven to freak squares out.

Soon after lasers were invented, scientists aimed to get people talking about these focused photons. Lasers aren’t voodoo; they can be made from the electrons in everyday materials. Eastman Kodak put out an advertisement in 1969 bragging that their researchers had built a laser from tonic water.

How, you ask?

Edible-laser pioneer Theodor Hänsch once said, “Anything will lase if you hit it hard enough,” and to prove his point, he partnered with Arthur Schawlow in 1970 to build lasers out of a gelatin-and-dye mixture very similar to Jell-O.

You heard the edible-laser pioneer: “anything.” But a Jell-O shot laser? Too “college.” Let’s class it up a notch and make this badass laser out of a gin and tonic, just like that Eastman Kodak ad. Can’t you imagine Graham Greene stirring his Hendrick’s and tonic before shooting a laser from said Hendrick’s and tonic into Evelyn Waugh’s chest?

Step One — Power:

Take it away, Popular Mechanics (by the way, we can see why you’re so popular, what with all the lasers and booze):

A laser requires energy to operate, but it’s not always as easy as plugging one into a wall socket. The gin-and-tonic laser would have to be powered, or pumped, by other lasers.

Hold up a minute; we need other lasers? But we don’t have other lasers. That’s why we’re making one out of our drink.

Not to worry, here’s a link to instructions on how to build a high-powered laser in your garage.

Build it yet? Good.

Step Two — Mirrors:

Set up two copper mirrors at either end of a copper tube. Energy builds up inside the drink until the molecules get excited enough to release photons. A small hole in one of the mirrors allows the laser light to escape.

Bad news: the laser made from a gin and tonic is invisible. Good news: it’s still a laser.

Step Three — Calibrating and waiting. Huh? That can’t be right:

Just having a source of energy and mirrors to trap it isn’t enough: You’ll also need a focusing lens to couple light from the carbon dioxide laser into the gin and tonic. It can sometimes take days, weeks or even months to get a material to lase for the first time.

DAMN IT! We’re drunk and want a laser NOW! Days? Weeks? Months? Why did we even start building this laser in the first place? Oh right, to kill that bartender.

Might we suggest switching bars?

How to Make a Laser From a Gin and Tonic [Popular Mechanics via BoingBoing]