World's Smallest Semiconductor Laser Heralds New Era in Optical Science

Posted on September 1, 2009

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have reached a new milestone in laser physics by creating the world's smallest semiconductor laser, capable of generating visible light in a space smaller than a single protein molecule.

A bright point of light from a single plasmon laser emanates from the optical setup used by UC Berkeley researchers (enlarged closeup at right). These semiconductor lasers — the world's smallest — are extremely efficient, so the small amount of scattered light is clearly visible, even in ambient room lighting.

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