Laser Zentrum Hannover has developed infrared lasers that zap weeds without harming neighboring plants.

Researchers from the Laser Zentrum Hannover (LZH) at the Leibniz University of Hannover, Germany use low-powered infrared lasers to inhibit weed growth without harming neighboring plants.

Weeds are a problem for farmers around the world and billions of dollars worth of herbicide are used every day to keep unwanted plants from competing with crops.

The LZH method is to stunt or kill the weeds in place using a laser.

LZH used a low-powered CO2 laser to strategically heat the water in the weeds’ cells. Instead of slicing through the weeds or burning them, the LZH laser would only heat the weed cells enough to damage them and thus inhibit their growth.

The system differentiates weeds from crops using new sensors operating on an innovative computer algorithm that determines the plant species by measuring its contours as well as accurately aiming the laser at the weeds’ vulnerable growth centers.

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