Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Mid-Infrared Lasers Show Doubled Efficiency

21.05.2008
Researchers at the Center for Quantum Devices at the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University have recently doubled the efficiency of infrared lasers under the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Efficient Mid-wave Infrared Lasers (EMIL) program.

As these types of lasers become more efficient, they could be used in next-generation laser-based defense systems to fool incoming missile attacks or detect explosives or toxins in the atmosphere. Such lasers could also be used in commercial applications like trace chemical analysis, pollution monitoring, and free space communication.

But first, researchers must find the right laser sources at the right wavelengths. The mid-infrared wavelength range (3 to 5 microns) is especially useful for defense-based applications, and laser technology in this range has been targeted by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as a strategic technology. The agency created the EMIL program to develop high efficiency, compact semiconductor laser sources with the hopes of demonstrating both high power (~1 W) and high power efficiency (50 percent) from an individual laser at room temperature. Besides demonstrating a significant energy savings over currently available sources, this technology (the quantum cascade laser) will also be more compact than any other laser technology for this wavelength range and operating temperature, with an active volume that is smaller than a human hair.

When the EMIL program started in March 2007, state-of-the-art mid-infrared semiconductor lasers, developed at Northwestern University, boasted power efficiencies on the order of five to 10 percent at room temperature. Over the past year, researchers at the Center for Quantum Devices, led by Manijeh Razeghi, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, have gradually improved this figure of merit through changes to material quality, design and fabrication. Currently a record power efficiency of 22 percent has been realized at room temperature (25 degrees Celsius). In other words, for the same power output, two to four times less input power is required. Furthermore, when cooled, the power efficiency increases to 34 percent at 160 degrees Kelvin (-113 degrees Celsius), which is also a record for this type of device. Along with high efficiencies, high output powers have also been demonstrated, with multi-watt output powers up to room temperature. This work is as yet unpublished, but recent intermediate accomplishments have recently been made public in the March 10, 2008 issue of Applied Physics Letters.

With up to two more years remaining in this EMIL project, there is still a lot additional research and development to be done. At present, this remains basic research, and individual lasers are quite expensive. Once developed, however, this type of laser is a strong candidate for mass production like the shorter wavelength semiconductor lasers used in CD and DVD players. This will bring down the cost significantly and allow penetration of this laser and its’ applications to the commercial sector.

Razeghi’s work is being funded by DARPA’s EMIL program and the Office of Naval Research.

Kyle Delaney | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.northwestern.edu

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Etching Microstructures with Lasers
25.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Applying electron beams to 3-D objects
23.09.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Simple processing technique could cut cost of organic PV and wearable electronics

06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

3-D printed kidney phantoms aid nuclear medicine dosing calibration

06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Robot on demand: Mobile machining of aircraft components with high precision

06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>