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 July 22, 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 July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

AP (July 18, 2014) The Obama administration approved the use of sonic cannons to discover deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through waters shared by endangered whales and turtles. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Newsy (July 18, 2014) The wreckage of the German submarine U-166 has become clearly visible for the first time since it was discovered in 2001. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Reuters - US Online Video (July 17, 2014) President Barak Obama stopped by at a lunch counter in Delaware before making remarks about boosting the nation's infrastructure. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

TheStreet (July 16, 2014) Oil Futures are bouncing back after tumbling below $100 a barrel for the first time since May yesterday. Jeff Grossman is the president of BRG Brokerage and trades at the NYMEX. Grossman tells TheStreet the Middle East is always a concern for oil traders. Oil prices were pushed down in recent weeks on Libya increasing its production. Supply disruptions in Iraq fading also contributed to prices falling. News from China's economic front showing a growth for the second quarter also calmed fears on its slowdown. Jeff Grossman talks to TheStreet's Susannah Lee on this and more on the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. Video provided by TheStreet
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