NTU researchers make breakthrough find in using laser for cooling systems

Bulky and noisy air-conditioning compressors and refrigerators could be replaced by cooling system using lasers in future. 

Researchers from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) said they've made a breakthrough find in harnessing the power of laser cooling. 

They had cooled down a semiconductor from 20 degrees celsius to minus 20 degrees celsius by laser. 

The material, Cadmium Sulfide, is commonly used in solar cells, sensors and electronics.

The NTU team sees potential benefits in other areas, such as in medical devices like MRI which require extreme cooling. 

Instead of bulky refrigerant systems, they may only need an optical refrigeration device. 

The scientists said doing away with compressors and coolants in air-conditioning and refrigerators will save space and energy, and cut down on green house gases which are harmful to the ozone layer. 

It'll mean building miniaturised coolers for infrared sensors in satellites for imaging, as well as self-cooling computer chips for portable devices like tablets and smart phones. 

The NTU findings were published in the 24 January 2013 issue of Nature, a leading scientific journal.