Sep
18
2007

Polymer lasers to brighten handheld screens

Polymer based lasers: Sarah Tolbert and Benjamin J. Schwartz, UCLA professors of chemistry and California NanoSystems Institute members. Credit: Reed Hutchinson/UCLA
Polymer based lasers: Sarah Tolbert and Benjamin J. Schwartz, UCLA professors of chemistry and California NanoSystems Institute members. Credit: Reed Hutchinson/UCLA
Products with LED-type displays, like cell phones, laptops and PDAs will soon be brighter, cheaper, and use less electricity.
Benjamin J. Schwartz discovered in the 1990s that lasers could be made out of randomly oriented semiconducting polymer chains. Now he and Sarah Tolbert have figured a way to get the spaghetti like polymer strands to straighten out so they can emit polarized laser light toward a precise target. The trick was to force the polymer chains into tiny, nanometer-sized holes in a piece of glass.

"What we do is take tiny, nanometer-sized holes in a piece of glass and force the polymer chains into the holes. The holes are so small that the spaghetti chains have no space to coil up. They have to lie straight, and all the chains end up pointing in the same direction." said Tolbert.

Laser light produced without mirrors

In most lasers, confining the light is typically done with external mirrors. In combination, the alignment of the polymer chains and the confinement of the light make it 20 times easier for the new materials to lase. The glass host matrix with the aligned nanoscale pores is also inexpensive to produce.

Brighter, cheaper, and using fewer batteries are traits of a winner in todays marketplace.

Source: UCLA News.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Ben's picture
Ben says:

I cant take it, the guy looks like one of the Ghost Busters.

Egon, is that you?

posted on Fri, 09/21/2007 - 7:19am

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <h3> <h4> <em> <i> <strong> <b> <span> <ul> <ol> <li> <blockquote> <object> <embed> <param> <sub> <sup>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may embed videos from the following providers vimeo, youtube. Just add the video URL to your textarea in the place where you would like the video to appear, i.e. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw0jmvdh.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Images can be added to this post.

More information about formatting options