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Posted: July 28, 2008
(Nanowerk News) Scientists have developed electrically powered semiconductor laser diodes that operate at a shorter wavelength than any others used today. The lasers, described online this week in Nature Photonics ("A 342-nm ultraviolet AlGaN multiplequantum-well laser diode"), could be used for the next generation of optical storage systems following today's Blu-ray disks, and will have applications in biomedicine, materials processing and microchip manufacture.
Electrically powered semiconductor laser diodes are a highly convenient source of laser light, and shorter wavelengths of operation have become available, with the potential to enable larger-capacity optical data storage. Now, Harumasa Yoshida and colleagues describe an electrically powered semiconductor laser diode that operates effectively at a UV wavelength - the shortest so far at 342 nanometres, and 63 nanometres shorter than the laser wavelength used in Blu-ray disks.
Importantly, the laser contains no indium - a component usually added to improve the efficiency of a UV laser diode, but which limits device operation to longer wavelengths. They prove that it is possible to create a practical and efficient indium-free UV laser diode that operates at room temperature and emits powers in the milliwatt range when driven by a pulsed electrical current.
A press briefing (in Japanese) related to this paper will take place in Tokyo on: Monday 28 July at 1500 local time (0700 London time BST) at the Arcadia Ichigaya hotel (http://www.natureasia.com/en/map/map.php).
The authors will speak about their research followed by questions from the media.