Funded by a three-year, $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation as well as a Cottrell College Science Award of $44,244 from the Research Corporation, Oana Malis, assistant professor of physics, is looking for new materials that would allow laser light to be generated in ranges that are not currently accessible. She is particularly interested in how the optical properties of gallium nitride, a compound semiconductor material, could be used.
“These lasers could be used for sensing such as in detecting environmental conditions in a building,” said Malis. “There are defense applications as well.”
In looking for new materials that would allow her to create lasers in the mid-infrared range, Malis is hoping nitrides are the answer. Their optical and electronic properties are not well understood, in part because they’re difficult to make.
The devices in question are incredibly small, less than a millimeter square. The material is like a sandwich of very thin layers, each about a nanometer or two thick. These hundreds or even thousands of layers give nitrides an interesting electronic structure and allow them to emit or absorb light in particular ranges.
“This is an ambitious project,” Malis said. “It’s the first few steps of the process. Getting to the device level, to an actual laser you can hold in your hand, is a little harder.”
She’s especially excited about this project because it will give undergraduate and graduate students experience in applied physics, including materials, advanced techniques such as electron microscopy and making devices and in theoretical modeling.
“I feel it’s important to involve students in applied research,” she said. “Physics students sometimes believe that physics is only about the cosmological level or broad strokes. In the end, physics is an experimental science. It has to do with reality, with the world around us.”
Malis said she tries to encourage her students to think freely and creatively and see that research is more than just following a certain procedure.
“I’m really interested in making things that work,” she said, “in understanding things that will make people’s lives better and will have a technological impact.”
Gail Glover | EurekAlert!
New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective
14.12.2017 | The Optical Society
New ultra-thin diamond membrane is a radiobiologist's best friend
14.12.2017 | American Institute of Physics
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine
14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2017 | Life Sciences