Set Phasers on Stun

You may not know that it is possible to make a laser for sound, but that's just what Michael, Tony, Conrad, Xueping, and Andrew found when they laser cooled a trapped ion with an optical frequency comb.  In their paper that came out today, they report the creation of a phonon laser (a "phaser") from a single trapped ion.  It turns out that the gain saturation of the phaser keeps the blue-detuned comb teeth from heating the ions out of the trap, and allows direct loading of the trap with the comb.  This finding has important consequences for ions needing light in the deep UV, such as He+, where the only available laser light is in comb form.