Scientists from the University of Texas at Austin, in cooperation with colleagues from Taiwan and China, have developed the smallest laser diode in the world. This finding may only get used in the emerging photonics, the scope of which extends from the computers and to medicine.
Miniaturization of semiconductor lasers is key to the development of faster, smaller and energy efficient photonic technologies such as ultra-fast computer chips, highly sensitive biosensors for the detection, treatment and study of diseases, as well as the next generation of communications technology.
Such photonic devices can use nanolasers to generate optical signals and transmit information, and may in the future replace electronic circuits. The problem was that the size and speed of the photonic devices has been limited by what is known as "three-dimensional optical diffraction limit".
Chih-Kang Ken Shih, a professor of physics at the University of Texas at Austin, said: "We have developed a nanolaser, far beyond the limitations of 3D diffraction limit. We believe that our research can have a big impact on nanotechnology."
This nanolaser emits a green light, and the size of the laser does not let you see it with the naked eye.
The device was constructed from gallium nitride nanorods, which are partially filled with gallium-nitride Indra. Both of these alloys are semiconductors widely used in the production of LEDs. Nanorods are thin insulating layer over the silicon layer which lies on top of a film of silver which yavyaetsya smooth on the atomic level.
Shih lab is working to improve this material has been for over 15 years. The so-called "atomic smoothness" - a key step in the creation of photonic devices that do not scatter and lose plasmons, which are waves of electrons that can be used to transfer large amounts of information.
Such nanolasers allow the development of so-called "one-chip chips" that perform the functions of a computer or other device on a single integrated circuit. This will reduce the formation of excess heat and loss of information inherent in the use of electronic devices that transmit information between multiple chips.
Shangdzhr Guo, Professor of National Tsing-Huon University in Taiwan, said: "The disparity in size of electronics and photonics, was a huge obstacle to the realization of single-chip optical communications and computing systems."