A semiconductor laser capable of generating visible light in a space smaller than a single protein molecule has been developed at the University of California, Berkeley.
The development breaks new ground in the field of optoelectronics, signifying not only the world's smallest semiconductor laser but also a way to keep light energy from dissipating as it travels.
Professor Xiang Zhang, leader of the research, paired a cadmium sulphide nanowire with a silver surface separated by an insulating gap of just five nanometres to store light within an area 20 times smaller than its wavelength.
"What is particularly exciting about the plasmonic lasers we demonstrated here is that they are solid-state and fully compatible with semiconductor manufacturing, so they can be electrically pumped and fully integrated at chip-scale," commented Professor Zhang.
The development comes after researchers at Arizona State University reported ways to make smaller lasers, providing the potential to create faster computers and internet connections.