Electronics: Laser Spark Plugs, Electromagnetic Suspension
Laser Spark Plugs
Spark plugs have been used in internal combustion engines for more than 150 years. But researchers from Japan’s National Institutes of Natural Sciences (nins.jp) are on to a cleaner, more efficient solution. They’ve developed a ceramic micro-laser (just 11-mm long and 9-mm in diameter) with two-beam output that can screw into an engine cylinder’s head. According to researcher Takunori Taira, the lasers are able to ignite an engine three times faster than spark plugs, and because the beams can be focused precisely at the center of the fuel/air mixture, there is more-efficient combustion. Additionally, the lasers can be made inexpensively. The researchers are currently working to bring the igniter into production. They’re also working on developing a micro-laser with three-beam output.