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The familiar laser uses coherent light. The maser uses coherent microwaves, and can detect tiny signals from distant space probes, but needs high magnetic fields and difficult cooling schemes. Prof. Neil Alford and his team at Imperial College London have developed the first solid state maser operating at room temperature in the earth’s magnetic field – with, as he explains, potential applications from radio astronomy to cancer scanning.

You can watch this free event from here, or if you’d like to join questions and discussion, you can also go direct to it in the Science Festival’s YouTube channel

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