More effective lasers

December 14, 2005

A group of professors from the departments of Chemistry, Soil Science, Physics and Applied Mathematics of the University of Navarra is working together in the preparation and characterization of a type of material termed "photonic crystals", which has optical properties with many uses. Thanks to these crystals, in the future more powerful and effective lasers will be able to be constructed. Indeed, the Nobel prize winner of 2005 has made specific mention of recent progress in laser technology, which demonstrates the growing interest in this scientific field.

These crystals are required to have a periodicity of an optical magnitude. This feature means that these materials have a structure of energy bands for photons similar to that which metals possess for electrons. These crystals provide ideal characteristics for the development of instruments with important applications in such diverse areas as communications, optical electronics and medicine.

Current tendencies point towards miniaturization, for creating instruments which are both faster and smaller. This will permit enormous advances in nanotechnology.

A challenge beginning in 1997
At the end of the decade of the 90's, the race began to manufacture photonic crystals. Even then, many applications were visualized for these crystals, such as using them to redirect light without significant loss of energy, something which still has not been completely achieved.
The research being performed at the University of Navarra has been developed as a multidisciplinary effort, involving professors from various departments, and with the collaboration of the TECNUN School of Engineering of San Sebastián. In addition, this research project receives funding from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science.

Elhuyar Fundazioa

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