"Wisconsin is a big dairy and cheese making state and we were approached by a company that wanted to know if we could use a laser to cut thin slices of cheese at high speed," Xiaochun Li, one of the researchers, told optics.org.
Li and his co-worker Hongseok Choi and assessed the suitability of an ultraviolet laser for cutting and drilling slices of mild cheddar that were a few millimeters thick. Central to the study was the investigation of which wavelength and energy fluence give the best results.
Experiments with the third (355 nm) and fourth (266 nm) harmonics of a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser demonstrated that a 266 nm beam is undoubtedly the preferred choice.
He believes that the work could point to a new and lucrative market future for lasers. "The food industry could be a huge market for lasers just like the semiconductor industry," Li said. "We’ve also been asked to cut meat and potato with a laser but we haven’t done that yet."
Now this is my kind of scientific research! It's the year 2000 damnit, and while I may not have a flying car, I can at least have my cheese slices cut by laser! Booya!!