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Near-thresholdless laser works at room temperature

Researchers at the University of Valencia (UV) are developing an ultra-low threshold semiconductor laser that operates at room temperature and is claimed to be up to 1000 times more energy-efficient than laser devices currently in use. Such a device would have the potential to increase computing speeds by several orders of magnitude.

The device tested at the UV’s Optoelectronic Devices and Materials Unit is based on the optical emission of semiconductor nanostructures embedded in a photonic crystal microcavity, emitting in the 1286nm wavelength, where inefficient temporal dispersion is low. Its lasing threshold is very low, near-thresholdless. But more than that it operates at room temperature or above, rather than the -296°C needed by existing near-thresholdless laser devices. This significantly reduces running costs making its incorporation into production lines practical.

Taking wavelength, threshold and operation temperature into account, it tests at between 100 and 1000 times more energy-efficient than standard laser devices.

A laser device of this kind has many applications. Being integrated into fibre optic circuitry, it is claimed to enable the development of extremely faster computers, advanced data storage technologies and ultra-sensitive biosensors.

Tom Austin-Morgan

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