back to article Texan scientists create tiny, tiny laser

The University of Texas at Austin has unveiled a laser built from a 28 nanometer rod and a 5 nm silicon dioxide layer. Despite the diminutive dimensions, the laser offers a lengthy stride It is, however, offering a good step forward in using optical communications between and within electronics. One of the challenges for a …

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Pint

Tiny, tiny lasers

So where are the frikkin tiny, tink SHARKS!

Enquiring minds want to know!

Colin

<<< Icon 'cos I've had several :-)

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Re: Tiny, tiny lasers

A Mini-Me-shark?

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Re: Tiny, tiny lasers

I think I will call him "Mini Jaws"

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Tiny, tiny sharks

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwarf_lanternshark

Adults are about 20cm long. Newborns are about 6cm. These sharks naturally glow in the dark.

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Coat

Re: Tiny, tiny lasers

@Thorne

Snappy name

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Re: Tiny, tiny lasers

Piranhas with Lasers!!

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Re: Tiny, tiny lasers

Laser Battle Stickleback!!!!

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Re: Tiny, tiny sharks

Now if we could get them to emit coherent light...

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Anonymous Coward

Emission wavelength?

The rod is InGaAs, so I'd guess the natural wavelength of emission to be around 640nm, but the rod is shorter than that, so how do they get a standing wave to form? I didn't think the refractive index of InGaAs was over 10. What is the emission wavelength of this laser?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Emission wavelength?

Don't know if OP is trolling or I should go back to school...

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Coat

Re: Emission wavelength?

The emission wavelength of this laser is tiny.

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Re: Emission wavelength?

It's InGaN - so the emmission wavelength is shorter than inGaAs depending on the

Indium levels

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Emission wavelength?

Thanks for the catch. However, the band gap of InGaN isn't that much different than InGaAs, so my question stands. A laser that size supporting a standing wave in the gain medium would either have to have one hell of a refractive index - like, 100 or so (way larger than any material of which I am familiar) - or would have to be operating in the extreme UV to soft X-ray part of the spectrum. And if these guys had made an EUV or X-ray laser at those scales they'd likely be booking a flight to Stockholm pretty soon.

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Coat

“smooth at the atomic level”?

Like Steve Perry?

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What would be the application for this technology? Fibre-optic comms within a system (instead of copper tracks)?

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Meh

Mako

I can't see anyone making an optical processor either. Until someone makes some sort of optical transistor, we will still have to translate the light into electrical signals & back again. This would take a lot of chip space in any implementation.

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Re: Mako

That's what I was thinking.

Maybe I'm lacking in imagination, but the only use I can see would be to replace the traditional bus which, as far as I know, isn't enough of a pinch-point to justify the conversion to light pipes and back.

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Re: Mako

an optical transistor eh? I believe you might be thinking of a reverse biased diode?

If the laser and the wave guides can be made small enough, there could certainly be a place for this in replacing global interconnects which are probably the biggest limiter to single core complexity/single thread perf. This wall was hit with P4 when they had to start pipelining wires. . .

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FAIL

Er what??

So we have "gallium nitride nanoscale rod (only!) partly filled with indium gallium nitride". ???

And then we are told that laser run cooler than a piece of wire with a transistor at each end.

I am sure that this is important and exciting, but I am also sure the author didn't understand any of it.

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Boffin

Abstract does not mention emission wavelength.

I've always been suspicious about the notion that a micro laser for on chip data transfer would work out at lower power than straight electrons moving down a conductor, even a bad conductor.

I think sometime physicists forget to just *amazed* about the mismatch between the scales of the items they deal with.

Electron transitions generate visible light is a common observation people don't think twice about.

But an electron is c0.01nm and the wave length emitted is c500nm

IE 50 000 bigger. So far the best laymen's explanation seems to be that's just how quantum physics works.

It's impressive (and uses virtual particles to boot) but viable?

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Joke

Texan scientists create tiny, tiny laser

"Texan scientists ... tiny, tiny laser..."

Are you certain they're Texan?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Texan scientists create tiny, tiny laser

In Texas, even the smallness is bigger.

Simple.

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Soon designers can forget capacitance

Progress

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Smooth on an atomic level

There's a chat-up line in there somewhere...

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