Researchers create laser the size of a virus particle
A Northwestern University research team has found a way to manufacture single laser devices that are the size of a virus particle and that operate at room temperature. These plasmonic nanolasers could be readily integrated into silicon-based photonic devices, all-optical circuits and nanoscale biosensors. Reducing the size of photonic and electronic elements is critical for ultra-fast data processing and ultra-dense information storage. The miniaturization of a key, workhorse instrument -- the laser -- is no exception.
The results are published in the journal Nano Letters.
"Coherent light sources at the nanometer scale are important not only for exploring phenomena in small dimensions but also for realizing optical devices with sizes that can beat the diffraction limit of light," said Teri Odom, a nanotechnology expert who led the research.
Odom is the Board of Lady Managers of the Columbian Exposition Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and a professor of materials science and engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.
"The reason we can fabricate nano-lasers with sizes smaller than that allowed by diffraction is because we made the lasing cavity out of metal nanoparticle dimers -- structures with a 3-D 'bowtie' shape," Odom said.
These metal nanostructures support localized surface plasmons -- collective oscillations of electrons -- that have no fundamental size limits when it comes to confining light.
The use of the bowtie geometry has two significant benefits over previous work on plasmon lasers: (1) the bowtie structure provides a well-defined, electromagnetic hot spot in a nano-sized volume because of an antenna effect, and (2) the individual structure has only minimal metal "losses" because of its discrete geometry.
"Surprisingly, we also found that when arranged in an array, the 3-D bowtie resonators could emit light at specific angles according to the lattice parameters," Odom said.
Source: Northwestern University
- Researchers create laser the size of a virus particlefrom Science BlogMon, 5 Nov 2012, 23:30:21 EST
- Plasmonic Nanolasers - A Laser The Size Of A Virus Particlefrom Scientific BloggingMon, 5 Nov 2012, 23:10:28 EST
- Laser the size of a virus particle: Miniature laser operates at room temperature and defies the diffraction limit of lightfrom Science DailyMon, 5 Nov 2012, 18:00:38 EST
- Laser the size of a virus particle operates at room temperature, defies the diffraction limit of lightfrom PhysorgMon, 5 Nov 2012, 17:31:40 EST
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Learn more about
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- Signs of ancient megatsunami could portend modern hazard
- International research team finds thriving wildlife populations in Chernobyl
- A simpler way to estimate the feedback between permafrost carbon and climate
- Mysterious ripples found racing through planet-forming disk
- Ancient rocks record first evidence for photosynthesis that made oxygen
- A snapshot of Americans' knowledge about science
- Researchers identify 3 new fossil whale species of New Zealand
- Burning remaining fossil fuel could cause 60-meter sea level rise
- Financial distress can hinder success of academically prepared minority students
- Stanford scientists produce cancer drug from rare plant in lab