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February 2016

‘Lasers Rewired’: Scientists Find a New Way to Make Nanowire Lasers

Molecular Foundry users have found a simple new way to produce nanoscale wires that can serve as tiny, tunable lasers.

The nanowires, with diameters as small as 200 nanometers and a blend of materials that has also proven effective in next-generation solar cell designs, were shown to produce very bright, stable laser light. Researchers say the excellent performance of these tiny lasers is promising for the field of optoelectronics, which is focused on combining electronics and light to transmit data, among other applications.

Light can carry far more data, far more rapidly than standard electronics—a single fiber in a fiber-optic cable, measuring less than a hair’s width in diameter, can carry tens of thousands of telephone conversations at once, for example. And miniaturizing lasers to the nanoscale could further revolutionize computing by bringing light-speed data transmission to desktop and ultimately handheld computing devices.

More standard techniques that produce nanowires can require expensive equipment and exotic conditions, such as high temperatures, and can suffer from other shortcomings. Instead, the research team developed a simple chemical-dipping solution process to produce a self-assembled blend of nanoscale crystals, plates and wires composed of cesium, lead and bromine (with the chemical formula: CsPbBr3). The same chemical blend, with a molecular architecture composed of cube-like crystal structures, has also proven effective in an emerging wave of new designs for high-efficiency solar cells.

Read the full press release.