World

Cue the Superman jokes. Scientists say laser eyes are possible

Superman fans Michael Byrnes, left, Frances Tirado, center, and Amy Byrnes pose for a photo on their way to New York Comic Con in 2016. While it won't match the Man of Steel's heat vision, scientists say it's possible to add laser-emitting membranes to our eyes for identification purposes.
Superman fans Michael Byrnes, left, Frances Tirado, center, and Amy Byrnes pose for a photo on their way to New York Comic Con in 2016. While it won't match the Man of Steel's heat vision, scientists say it's possible to add laser-emitting membranes to our eyes for identification purposes.

You probably won’t be carving through steel beams like Superman, but scientists behind a new study say a laser-emitting film over your eyes may someday serve as your ID card.

A team led by the University of St. Andrews in Scotland published a study Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications exploring the creation of ocular lasers using an ultra-thin membrane with organic semiconductors.

In comic books, movies and television, Superman gains his heat vision from his Kryptonian heritage. Researchers instead used a thin film to create some of the world’s smallest and lightest lasers.

“Our work represents a new milestone in laser development and, in particular, points the way to how lasers can be used in inherently soft and ductile environments, be it in wearable sensors or as an authentication feature on bank notes,” Malte Gather, a co-author of the study and professor at the School of Physics and Astronomy at St. Andrews, told Forbes.

Researchers tested ocular lasers using a cow’s eye and also embedded laser-emitting membranes in bank notes as a possible way to foil counterfeiters, according to the Nature Communications report.

"These physical properties combined with the low lasing threshold and the ability to generate unique output spectra allows the application of membrane lasers as security labels that can be applied to a wide range of substrates including banknotes, contact lenses, and finger nails," the report says.

For example, workers in sensitive areas could wear laser-emitting contact lenses for identification purposes, the report says.

Fearing the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the man of steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. With Batman and Superman fighting each other, a new threat, Doomsday, is created by Lex Luthor

  Comments