New research has shown that materials known as indirect-band-gap semiconductors can be used to create practical lasers, by demonstrating the first laser built from germanium that is capable of optical communication light wavelengths.
The study, carried out by a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), could have important implications for electronic devices that use light to move data or perform calculations.
According to the educational institution, this manner of data transmission could be more power-efficient but would require chips to have such technology incorporated on to them.
Lionel Kimerling, group leader of the MIT researchers and Thomas Lord professor of materials science and engineering, explained that students are generally taught that indirect-band-gap materials are not capable of being used for such lasers, but this new study has contradicted this idea.
Professor Kimerling explained: "The ability to grow germanium on silicon … and the ability to control the strain of those germanium films on silicon is a discovery of this group."
Meanwhile, Intense this week launched its first direct diode laser system to feature turnkey industrial design.