A team of Romanian and Japanese scientists claim to have found a way to replace an engine's spark plug with a laser.
Regular spark plugs only ignite the air/fuel mixture in the immediate vicinity of the spark gap. What's more, the ends corrode over time. The new discovery has three high pulse lasers made of ceramic powder and pressed into spark plug-sized cylinders. Each one fires at a different depth, more thoroughly igniting the air/fuel mixture in the cylinder.
I'm not entirely sure I buy this. First, there is the question of energy expenditure. Spark plugs take a lot of energy to work. So do high pulse lasers. Also, what if the gas isn't a completely clean mixture? Could pollutants reduce the effectiveness of the lasers?
Like I said, I'm anxiously awaiting this.