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A tiny laser comprising an array of nanoscale semiconductor cylinders (see image) has been made by an all-A*STAR team. This is the first time that lasing has been achieved in non-metallic nanostructures, and it promises to lead to miniature lasers usable in a wide range of optoelectronic devices.
Microscale lasers are widely used in devices such as CD and DVD players. Now, optical engineers are developing nanoscale lasers—so small that they cannot be seen by the human eye.
Method - Arrays - Structures - Semiconductors - Index
A promising method is to use arrays of tiny structures made from semiconductors with a high refractive index. Such structures act as tiny antennas, resonating at specific wavelengths. However, it has been challenging to use them to construct a cavity—the heart of a laser, where light bounces around while being amplified.
Now, Arseniy Kuznetsov, Son Tung Ha, Ramón Paniagua-Domínguez, and their colleagues at the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering have overcome this problem by exploiting a highly unusual type of standing wave that remains in one spot despite coexisting with a continuous spectrum of radiating waves that can transport energy away. First predicted by quantum mechanics, this wave was demonstrated experimentally in optics about a decade ago.
Element - Serendipity - Invention
There was an element of serendipity in the invention. "We initially planned to...
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