Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

World's smallest semiconductor laser to have big impact in computing, bio-hazard detection

Date:
December 8, 2009
Source:
Air Force Office of Scientific Research
Summary:
Researchers have demonstrated the world's smallest semiconductor laser, which may have applications to the Air Force in communications, computing and bio-hazard detection.

AFOSR-MURI and National Science Foundation-funded professor, Dr. Xiang Zhang has demonstrated at the University of California, Berkeley the world’s smallest semiconductor laser, which may have applications to the Air Force in communications, computing and bio-hazard detection.
Credit: Image courtesy of Air Force Office of Scientific Research

Air Force Office of Scientific Research and National Science Foundation-funded professor, Dr. Xiang Zhang has demonstrated at the University of California, Berkeley the world's smallest semiconductor laser, which may have applications to the Air Force in communications, computing and bio-hazard detection.

The semiconductor, called a plasmon, can focus light the size of a single protein in a space that is smaller than half its wavelength while maintaining laser-like qualities that allow it to not dissipate over time.

"Proposed almost seven years ago, researchers had been unable to demonstrate a working plasmonic laser until our experiment," said Zhang. "It is an important discovery because it has the potential to eliminate optical loss and make plasmonic-based technologies viable for a broad spectrum of applications."

"Perhaps the biggest gap in our knowledge and the reason it took so long to demonstrate this technology was our challenge of devising a realistic plasmonic laser design," he said. "We developed a strategy to get around this problem by combining semi-conductor nanowires one-thousand times thinner than a human hair with a metal surface separated by an insulating gap of only five nanometers, the size of a single protein molecule."

Because of their ultra small size, Zhang admits that an even more challenging aspect of his research has been in demonstrating how the plasmonic lasers bridge electronics, optics and photonics on the nanometer scale.

"We were ultimately able to exhibit these properties successfully by creating a confined space that was able to hold and sustain light while the experiments were conducted," he noted.

The next generation of plasmonic lasers called nanolasers are even expected to be able to probe and manipulate molecules. They will be of interest to the Air Force because they will advance ultra-sensitive bio-detection, nanoscale optics and enhanced communication systems.

They will also benefit healthcare, optics-based telecommunications and optical computing.

Zhang looks forward to the next phase of research when he and his colleagues will create an electrically operated version of the plasmonic laser, which can be fully integrated with semiconductors without design modification.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Air Force Office of Scientific Research. "World's smallest semiconductor laser to have big impact in computing, bio-hazard detection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091207173628.htm>.
Air Force Office of Scientific Research. (2009, December 8). World's smallest semiconductor laser to have big impact in computing, bio-hazard detection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091207173628.htm
Air Force Office of Scientific Research. "World's smallest semiconductor laser to have big impact in computing, bio-hazard detection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091207173628.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins