Nav: Home

Scientists achieve high power with new smaller laser

January 22, 2018

An international team of scientists has produced the first high-powered, randomly polarised laser beam with a "Q switch" laser, which typically emits pulses of light so brief that they're measured in nanoseconds.

Lasers are a critical part of modern technology--they're used in everything from our automobiles to medical equipment to the satellites orbiting Earth. Now, researchers are broadening the potential applications of even smaller and more powerful lasers.

The researchers published their results in Scientific Reports, an open-access Nature journal.

"The experimental evidence provided in this study advances this research field toward the realization of actively controllable integrated micro lasers," wrote Taichi Goto, second author of the paper and an assistant professor in the department of electrical and electronic information engineering at the Toyohashi University of Technology in Japan.

Other study contributors include scientists from the Institute for Molecular Science at the Laser Research Centre in Japan and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Iowa State University in the United States.

Q switch lasers are used in a variety of applications, including in surgical procedures, and can produce more precise results with less damage than traditional tools. The lasers require integration of active and passive responsibilities for maximum efficiency.

"There are two advantages to actively controlling integrated micro lasers," said Goto. "The size is small, and mass production technique can be used. The price of one piece of Q switch laser can be decreased by the integration."

A technique called Q switching produces short but high-powered pulse outputs. As in other lasers, an electric current excites electrons in a laser medium--in this case, it's a crystal used in solid-state lasers--and emits the resulting energy as amplified light. The light can be polarized in one direction or another, but it's nearly impossible to change the randomly polarized light in a small Q switch laser.

Goto and his team used Q switching, along with a laser a tenth of the size of an American penny, to produce a laser beam ten times more powerful than previously reported with a larger laser.

Along with the change of laser size, the researchers also adjusted the magnetic material through which the light travels and amplifies to a more powerful pulse. With the addition of a neodymium-yttrium-aluminum-garnet, Goto could use magneto-optics to better control how the light moves within the laser cavity.

The short pulses allow the researchers to change the polarization of the laser through manipulation of the photons comprising the light. Instead of a constant light, each pulse can be switched. The laser size means the energy punches out, instead of dissipating as it travels inside the system.

The researchers plan to increase the peak power of their system, according to Goto. They also plan to apply the system as an integrated micro laser for further testing.
-end-
Further Information

Toyohashi University of Technology
1-1 Hibarigaoka, Tempaku
Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, 441-8580, JAPAN
Inquiries: Committee for Public Relations
E-mail: press@office.tut.ac.jp

About Toyohashi University of Technology

Toyohashi University of Technology, which was founded in 1976 as a National University of Japan, is a leading research institute in the fields of mechanical engineering, advanced electronics, information sciences, life sciences, and architecture.

Website: http://www.tut.ac.jp/english/

Toyohashi University of Technology

Related Laser Articles:

A laser for penetrating waves
The 'Landau-level laser' is an exciting concept for an unusual radiation source.
Laser light detects tumors
A team of researchers from Jena presents a groundbreaking new method for the rapid, gentle and reliable detection of tumors with laser light.
The first laser radio transmitter
For the first time, researchers at Harvard School of Engineering have used a laser as a radio transmitter and receiver, paving the way for towards ultra-high-speed Wi-Fi and new types of hybrid electronic-photonic devices.
The random anti-laser
Scientists at TU Wien have found a way to build the 'opposite' of a laser -- a device that absorbs a specific light wave perfectly.
Laser 'drill' sets a new world record in laser-driven electron acceleration
Combining a first laser pulse to heat up and 'drill' through a plasma, and another to accelerate electrons to incredibly high energies in just tens of centimeters, scientists have nearly doubled the previous record for laser-driven particle acceleration at Berkeley Lab's BELLA Center.
Laser physics: Transformation through light
Laser physicists have taken snapshots of how C60 carbon molecules react to extremely short pulses of intense infrared light.
Laser-induced graphene gets tough, with help
Laser-induced graphene created at Rice University combines with many materials to make tough, conductive composites for wearable electronics, anti-icing, antimicrobial applications, sensors and water treatment.
How molecules teeter in a laser field
When molecules interact with the oscillating field of a laser, an instantaneous, time-dependent dipole is induced.
Laser blasting antimatter into existence
Antimatter is an exotic material that vaporizes when it contacts regular matter.
New laser advances
Lasers are poised to take another step forward: Researchers at Case Western Reserve University, in collaboration with partners around the world, have been able to control the direction of a laser's output beam by applying external voltage.
More Laser News and Laser Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.