Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

The NIF Laser Roadshow includes a number of interactive laser demonstrations (Laser Light Fountain, Laser DJ, and NIF “3D ride”) that have traveled across the country to museums and science fairs to bring awareness and education to students and the general public about lasers and how they function. These demonstrations have been presented at the Lawrence Hall of Science, the National Boy Scout Jamboree, meetings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the Science and Engineering Fair at the National Mall in Washington, DC, among others.

Laser Light Fountain

The Laser Light Fountain uses lasers to demonstrate color mixing (red + green makes yellow) as well as the principle of “total internal reflection,” which allows the laser to follow the falling water. Color mixing is used in consumer goods such as TVs. Total internal reflection enables fiber optic cables to carry information in the form of light for high speed telecommunications.

 Child Touches Laser Light in Water FountainDifferent colored laser light is combined and aligned to point through a water tank. As the laser light exits through a hole in the far end of the water container, it bends to follow the arching path of the water.

Laser DJ

An MP3 player is used to modulate a visible laser so that music can be transmitted through air (or through fiber optic cable) to a photodiode receiver. The photodiode detects the laser light and converts it back into an electric pulse so that a speaker can reproduce the sound/music again. Blocking the laser beam will immediately stop the music. The laser beam can also be modulated with different household items such as rulers and combs to create modulated music—not unlike a music DJ.

Laser light modulation is used in many applications such as CDs, DVDs, and telecommunications in which information is transformed from electronic signals to laser light. Laser DJThe Laser DJ modulates a red laser that transmits sound to a receiver that decodes and plays the music through speakers.

NIF 3D Ride

A 3D animation follows a pulse of laser light as it travels from its origin in the Master Oscillator through a series of NIF amplifiers and conditioners to its final destination in the NIF Target Chamber.

3D Demo of NIF BeamlinesNIF Exhibit visitors wear 3D glasses to enjoy a virtual ride through the NIF beamlines.