Some time in the 1980s I was flipping through an Omni magazine and in one of their "new in science" sections they had a short blurb on a new type of laser that generated a "beam" that was a complete 360 degree disk. This was not scanned, the laser cavity itself purportedly did this directly. The article was quoting one of the Soviet journals, and the accompanying photo showed something that looked like it was built out of natural gas piping.
I can think of a couple of ways this might have been accomplished using conventional tech, even the mundane solution of shining through appropriate optics, but the right-up made it clear this is not what was going on.
I've looked for this device on a couple of occasions since, but google simply turns up circular saws. Anyone know anything about this?