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 ScanCut project completed: laser cutting enables more intricate plug connector designs
06.08.2020 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Analyzing pros and cons of two composite manufacturing methods
04.08.2020 | University of Illinois Grainger College of Engineering

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: ScanCut project completed: laser cutting enables more intricate plug connector designs

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have come up with a striking new addition to contact stamping technologies in the ERDF research project ScanCut. In collaboration with industry partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Aachen-based team of researchers developed a hybrid manufacturing process for the laser cutting of thin-walled metal strips. This new process makes it possible to fabricate even the tiniest details of contact parts in an eco-friendly, high-precision and efficient manner.

Plug connectors are tiny and, at first glance, unremarkable – yet modern vehicles would be unable to function without them. Several thousand plug connectors...

Im Focus: New Strategy Against Osteoporosis

An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.

Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...

Im Focus: AI & single-cell genomics

New software predicts cell fate

Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...

Im Focus: TU Graz Researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications

“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.

Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...

Im Focus: Tailored light inspired by nature

An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.

Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2020”: The final touches for surfaces

23.07.2020 | Event News

Conference radar for cybersecurity

21.07.2020 | Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rare Earth Elements in Norwegian Fjords?

06.08.2020 | Earth Sciences

Anode material for safe batteries with a long cycle life

06.08.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Turning carbon dioxide into liquid fuel

06.08.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>