Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists demonstrate laser with controlled polarization

15.04.2009
Innovation opens the door to a wide range of applications in photonics and communications

Applied scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) in collaboration with researchers from Hamamatsu Photonics in Hamamatsu City, Japan, have demonstrated, for the first time, lasers in which the direction of oscillation of the emitted radiation, known as polarization, can be designed and controlled at will.

The innovation opens the door to a wide range of applications in photonics and communications. Harvard University has filed a broad patent on the invention.

Spearheaded by graduate student Nanfang Yu and Federico Capasso, Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering, both of SEAS, and by a team at Hamamatsu Photonics headed by Dr. Hirofumi Kan, General Manager of the Laser Group, the findings will be published as a cover feature of the April 13 issue of Applied Physics Letters.

"Polarization is one of the key features defining a laser beam. Controlling it represents an important new step towards beam engineering of lasers with unprecedented flexibility, tailored for specific applications," explains Capasso. "The novelty of our approach is that instead of being conducted externally, which requires bulky and expensive optical components, manipulation of the beam polarization is achieved by directly integrating the polarizer on the laser facet. This compact solution is applicable to semiconductor lasers and other solid-state lasers, all the way from communication wavelengths to the mid-infrared and Terahertz spectrum".

Light sources with a desirable polarization state are useful for a wide variety of applications. For example, satellite communications use two orthogonal polarizations to double the capacity of the channel; circularly-polarized light sources are necessary to detect certain biomolecules; and laser sources with a variety of polarization states have relevance for quantum cryptography.

To achieve the results, the researchers sculpted a metallic structure, dubbed a plasmonic polarizer directly on the facet of a quantum cascade (QC) laser. The QC laser emitted at a wavelength of ten microns (in the invisible part of the spectrum known as the mid-infrared where the atmosphere is transparent). The team was able to control the state of polarization by generating both linearly polarized light along an arbitrary direction and circularly polarized light.

The team's co-authors are postdoctoral researcher Qijie Wang and research associates Christian Pflügl and Laurent Diehl (all from Harvard) and researchers Tadataka Edamura, Sninichi Furuta, and Masamichi Yamanishi (both from Hamamatsu Photonics).

The research was partially supported by Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The authors also acknowledge the support of two Harvard-based centers, the NSF-funded Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSEC) and the Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS), a member of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN).

Michael Patrick Rutter | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.harvard.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Hope to discover sure signs of life on Mars? New research says look for the element vanadium
22.09.2017 | University of Kansas

nachricht Calculating quietness
22.09.2017 | Forschungszentrum MATHEON ECMath

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>