HOW TO: Make a gin n' tonic laser


At heart, a laser is really just an electron that's been pushed into releasing a little energy, in the form of a particle of light—a photon. The atom that electron comes from doesn't have to be anything fancy, or toxic. In fact, it can even be an atom of something you might like to put in your mouth.

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.

That delightful fact is from a story in Popular Mechanics, written by Olivia Koski. It's all about edible lasers, specifically the steps involved in building a laser out of a gin n' tonic. Naturally, there's a catch. Turns out, the gin n' tonic laser is not the world's most efficient—a blast from a 20-watt carbon dioxide laser stimulates the electrons in the drink into emitting only 0.00001 watts of laser light. Which is also invisible to the naked eye.

But still, isn't it nice to know that "Pew pew" and "Nom nom" are concepts that can be combined?

Via Dr. Skyskull

Image is actually a demonstration of quinine in a gin n' tonic fluorescing under a black light. If you don't have patience/carbon-dioxide laser to pull off a gin n' tonic laser, this would make a nice substitute party trick. Some rights reserved by Todd Huffman.