How to build an alien death ray

Another teaser from a work-in-progress novel, demonstrating that it's hard to write hard science fiction. This bit might have flaws, as I've never actually built a laser. Comments from those who have are solicited.

Chapter 167

Titan Pass, Nevada

Lasers are uncomplicated devices, but as one scales them up, they can be challenging to build. Small gas and ruby lasers are easy to make; but if one desires a large-scale diamond laser, he’d better have on hand an assortment of supplies and tooling.

Borosilicate glass pipe, taken off the bill-of-materials of a coal dust combustion reactor (for a never-to-be-assembled abrasives processing line), makes a fine armature for a lasing rod.

Insert the pipe into the chuck of a CNC lathe/vertical milling machine, trickle in refined diamond grit, pulse into a liquid state with an Anye-tech fuser mounted to a servo-driven tool arm, manipulating crystal lattice structure with components made for a quantum assembler (which you will also never finish).

Dope the mix with semiconductor manufacturing chemicals, forming internal optical circuits. Measure with a full-spectrum LED shop light and high-resolution imager (a phone camera).

Mirror coat the borosilicate pipe. Apply a suspension containing light emitting precipitate (Anye-tech homebrew chemistry) to plastic-backed graphene mesh (Japan), and wrap that around your pipe. Tap the graphene mesh for power. Finish the assembly with parasitic cooling tape (from your nanoscale fabricator) and Plasti Dip automotive wheel paint (RockAuto).

Walla! You now have in your possession a thirty-seven-centimeter-long laser core which, when powered, is capable of instantly destroying meter-thick concrete. It’s also past midnight, you’re dead tired, and you haven’t built a flying platform yet.


Note – Featured image by Tom Edwards, a UK cover artist.

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