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A laser-based technique developed by a Japanese research team could make it easier to degrade the plant product cellulose, which is used to produce biofuel. The new technique is based on a type of laser called the infrared-free electron laser (IR-FEL), whose wavelength is tunable in the range of 3 to 20 μm.
Owing to its dense, rigid structure, cellulose is challenging to break down without use of extreme processes such as microwave radiation, hydrolysis, and ultrasonication. The researchers knew that IR-FELs had been used to perform dissociation reactions on various biomolecules. “So far, this technology has been used in the basic fields of physics, chemistry, and medicine, but we wanted to use [it] to spur advances in…READ MORE