15 May '13, 9pm

Polariton Lasers Light Up at Low Power

Polariton Lasers Light Up at Low Power

Image: Nature Polariton Pillars: The 2-micrometer-wide pillars are key to confining polaritons in a new kind of electrically powered laser. A new type of laser has the potential to be much more energy efficient than conventional lasers, according to two groups of scientists who separately came up with very similar designs for it. Known as a polariton laser, the device isn’t, strictly speaking, a laser at all. Conventional lasers work through stimulated emission of radiation: Electrons in a laser cavity are raised to a high-energy state, and when they drop to a lower state, they emit the excess energy as photons, producing a coherent beam of light. This new device, however, is based on the stimulated scattering of polaritons. A polariton is a “quasiparticle,” a mixture of an electron-hole pair (also known as an exciton) and a photon, which can exist only within a crystal. W...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/semiconductors/optoelectronics/p...

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