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"If I had to get a new Ph.D. now, I'd get it in polymer engineering - the manipulation of matter."
- Bart Kosko

Flashlight Laser  
  Small cylindrical device that generates a green beam of variable intensity and focal length; can illuminate or cut.  

At this point in the novel, Louis Wu and his companions are exploring the Ringworld.

Louis aimed the implement high.

The figurine which was his target jutted from the tower's roof. It was like a modernized, surrealistic gargoyle. Louis' thumb moved, and the gargoyle glowed yellow-white. His index finger shifted, and the beam narrowed to a pencil of green light. The gargoyle sprouted a white-hot navel.

From Ringworld, by Larry Niven.
Published by Ballantine in 1970
Additional resources -

The flashlight-laser is like the ultimate Maglite flashlight. From simple illumination to cutting tool, the flashlight-laser does it all. Now where is that power setting on my Maglite...

This item is very reminiscent of the pencil heat ray from a 1931 novel by Ray Cummings. See also the cutteray an industrial strength laser-based cutting tool from Dune, by Frank Herbert.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Ringworld
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven
  Tech news articles related to Ringworld
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven

Flashlight Laser-related news articles:
  - Almost Niven's Flashlight Laser

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