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There is a well known effect in the optics world known as anti-stokes emission. Using titanium dioxide, a common component in paint, in a water solution and shining a beam of weak laser light in it will give a violent burst of coherent light filling a room. It is well known that this effect outputs considerably more light (energy) than what goes in from the laser. Just an idea for an efficient light source.

Offered by Steve.

Would one of those laser pointers work? I e-mailed a grad student studying titanium dioxide at the U of Manchester in the UK about this. I'll let you know what he has to say.

Offered by Bruce.

When you say a weak beam of laser light, what would we use as a source? Could we use those $15.00 laser pointers? They only run on one AA battery which can be easily re-charged using very little solar power. Could it be that easy?

Offered by Doug.

Yes, that is generally what is used to demonstrate the anti-stokes emission. The titanium dioxide is a relatively easy chemical to get hold of and does not require any expertise to mix some in water and see for yourself.

Offered by Steve.