Researchers at Purdue University have announced a new breakthrough in the field of lasers after developing the smallest laser device in history.
Known as a spaser, the device is the first of its kind to emit visible light and represents a major step forward in the development of components for nanophotonic circuitry.
The spaser, which is just 44 nanometres in diameter, works by harnessing clouds of electrons called surface plasmons, instead of the usual photons that make up light.
"Here, we have demonstrated the feasibility of the most critical component - the nanolaser - essential for nanophotonics to become a practical technology," commented Professor Vladimir Shalaev from Purdue University.
It is believed that future development could include creating a spaser-based nanolaser that uses an electrical source rather than light, to make it suitable for computing and electronics applications.
Scientists at Purdue University recently announced a new class of resonators that may be used to filter electronic signals in handheld devices.