CO2-splitting lasers hint at origins of Earth’s earliest oxygen

By on October 14, 2014

Layers of the atmosphere (Credit: NASA)

University of California scientists may have found a new way to make oxygen without relying on plants, according to a report from Live Science. The research team constructed a double-lasered instrument that uses ultraviolet light contained in a vacuum to divide the carbon dioxide molecule.

During the experiment, the first laser split the carbon dioxide and the second tracked a combination of oxygen and carbon pieces. The chemists believe their discovery could demonstrate our atmosphere’s evolution and could also lead to producing oxygen in space, but further testing is needed.

Image: Layers of the atmosphere (Credit: NASA)

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