Sep 21, 2020
On September 16, 2020, Hod Lipson was in Columbia University's laboratory to explore the use of lasers for precise and controllable heating of food. They have used mid-infrared, near-infrared and blue lasers to cook food such as dough, chicken, salmon, and vegetables. Lasers of different wavelengths have different penetration depths for food. Blue lasers are more suitable for penetration cooking, while infrared lasers are more suitable for heating the food surface.
They invented a process called "Selective Laser Barbecue", which uses a two-axis mirror galvanometer to guide a blue laser to grill a piece of salmon, and uses a specific scanning pattern and modulated laser characteristics to affect the cooking process. The laser spot diameter, density and period can be modified, as can the heat and power. The researchers were able to penetrate salmon about 2 mm and cooked the fish fillets at a food-safe temperature of 62.8°C (145°F).
They also applied carbon dioxide infrared laser (working wavelength 10.6μm) to brown dough made of flour and water in the laboratory, and developed a software to control the appearance and texture of dough samples. In addition, a blue laser is used to cook the dough more fully. The dough with a thickness of 1 mm and a diameter of 5 mm is quickly baked at a speed of 4000 mm per minute. Researchers suggest that multiple lasers can be combined to achieve the best cooking process.
Barcelona-based Foodini food 3D printer manufacturer Natural Machines announced in February that it would integrate laser-based cooking into its next-generation FoodiniPro. Lynette Kucsma, co-founder of Natural Machines, said it can cook all foods such as burgers or salmon fillets. The benefits of this process are not limited to unique geometries. Moreover, the energy used in the cooking process is 90% less than using an oven. Because the laser heats the food directly, there is no need to bake the entire printing chamber, but only the energy is concentrated on the food itself, which also means that cooking can be done at a lower temperature. The dishes are not hot when they come out of the machine.
In addition, the use of laser cooking food is not only conducive to saving, but also means less greasy, healthier food, and carcinogens related to grilling will not be produced.