No attempts to develop ultrasmall lasers emitting blue light have been really successful. The two most critical building blocks – the electron pump that provides the energy to create new photons and the mirrors that recycle the photons – have proven very difficult to realize. In this project new strategies will be tested, which includes a new type of superresponsive mirror which has a “knock-out” effect on the light. For the electron pump new materials which easily transport both photons and electrons will be tested; also, selective destruction of a material will be used to create paths for the electrons without having to use a different material for the isolating surroundings.
The goal is to increase the energy efficiency of blue lasers by a factor of ten, at least, and achieve a lifetime and reliability that is comparable to the robust microlasers emitting infrared light that are used in optical fiber communication. This is quite a challenge: typical lifetimes of demonstrated blue microlasers have been only a few minutes. One of the first applications of these lasers would be in biomedical detection, since biomolecules often interact strongly with light at these wavelengths.
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland and Politecnico di Torino, Italy.
Swedish Research Council (VR)
Chalmers University of Technology, centrally and through Area of Advance Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Knut and Alice Wallenberg (KAW) Foundation