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TechnologyELI5: How are those glass decorational items made? The ones that are just a solid glass blocl, but with some kind of 3-D image inside of it?
submitted 3 months ago by mydadthecircusclown
They kind of look like they're hollowed out but show no signs of being seamed together.
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[–]mmmmmmBacon12345 160Answer Link15 points16 points17 points 3 months ago (3 children)
You take a few lasers pointed in from different angles and have them cross at a single point. Individually they don't have enough power to damage the material but they do when you cross multiple beams
[–]mydadthecircusclown[S] 2 points3 points4 points 3 months ago (2 children)
That's very interesting. Thanks!
[–]d1sxeyes 4 points5 points6 points 3 months ago (1 child)
This is also the same principle used in radiology for treating cancer.
[–]SenorRock 2 points3 points4 points 3 months ago (0 children)
And in laser eye surgery iirc.
[–]lirrormine 60Answer Link5 points6 points7 points 3 months ago (1 child)
Hmm I would have thought they were a special kind of laser:
ultrafast lasers, or femtosecond lasers.
They have extremely short pulses with huge amounts of peak power. Unlike 'normal' lasers that machine or mill material away by boiling and vaporising, these lasers machine or mill by 'cold ablation': the huge light field power frees the electrons, then it becomes opaque, so absorbs more light, so it frees more electrons, then it becomes more opaque etc etc. Eventually there is no more electrons holding the material together, and it just explodes.
It's just that it happens in a tiny scale; if you look at it with a microscope, it's an absolute mess.
[–]lirrormine 2 points3 points4 points 3 months ago (0 children)
In theory, crossing multiple laser beams sort of seem plausible, but glass is transparent! a few times more powerful light generally doesn't make a difference. Nanosecond lasers are often used for metal machining. Peak power wise, femtosecond pulses can be 1000000 times more powerful...
[–]The_camperdave 30Answer Link2 points3 points4 points 3 months ago (1 child)
They're called sub-surface laser engravings or bubblegrams. When doing laser engraving, typically they focus the laser on the surface of the material. It creates a microscopic fracture. With glass, crystal, and certain plastics, you can focus the laser below the surface. This causes the microfracture to occur deep within the glass itself, not just at the surface. By adjusting the focus depth, as well as the X and Y coordinates of the laser, a 3D engraving can be made.
[–]mydadthecircusclown[S] 0 points1 point2 points 3 months ago (0 children)
[–]mydadthecircusclown[S] 20Answer Link1 point2 points3 points 3 months ago (0 children)
Block* I meant block
[+][deleted] 3 months ago (1 child)
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