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Communications Science Technology

First Room-Temperature Germanium Laser Completed 80

Posted by timothy
from the please-keep-your-comments-germanium dept.
eldavojohn writes "MIT researchers have built and demonstrated the first room-temperature germanium laser that can produce light at wavelengths suited for communication. This achievement has two parts: '[U]nlike the materials typically used in lasers, germanium is easy to incorporate into existing processes for manufacturing silicon chips. So the result could prove an important step toward computers that move data — and maybe even perform calculations — using light instead of electricity. But more fundamentally, the researchers have shown that, contrary to prior belief, a class of materials called indirect-band-gap semiconductors can yield practical lasers.' While these are only the initial steps in what may become optical computing devices, the article paints it as very promising. The painful details will be published in the journal Optics Letters."
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First Room-Temperature Germanium Laser Completed

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  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@mEULERac.com minus math_god> on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:12AM (#31032836) Journal

    Why is this better than existing solid-state lasers?

    -jcr

  • by MightyDrunken (1171335) on Friday February 05, 2010 @08:22AM (#31033340)

    It does suck for the English, they could use Europium but the best I could find was Rhodium, meaning rose. The next best is Rutherfordium for Ernest Rutherford as he was a British citizen but was born a New Zealander.
    Hell even Ytterby a Swedish village has two elements named after it (Ytterbium and Yttrium).

    A few more but by no means an exhaustive list.

    • Paris (Lutetium)
    • German state of Hesse (Hassium)
    • Gaul-France (Gallium)
    • France (Francium)
    • Germany (Germanium)
    • Kobold Goblin (Cobalt)
    • California (Californium)
    • University of California, Berkeley (Berkelium)
    • Scandinavia (Scandium)
    • Nobel Institute in Sweden (Nobelium)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 05, 2010 @08:35AM (#31033408)

    Actually, Ytterby has four elements named after it: Ytterbium, Yttrium, Terbium and Erbium.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 05, 2010 @10:57AM (#31034472)

    Oh dear. So many replies, so much nonsense. Slashdot these days...

    This is a great achievement.

    What is great about this laser is that they seem to have found a new
    material system that emits at communication wavelength. Communication
    wavelength are important because this is a wavelength you can couple well
    into optical fibers.

    What they seem to do is they apply tensile strain to a germanium layer and
    basically push it's energy bands from indirect semiconductor to direct
    semiconductor. Direct semiconductors can amplify light, therefore you can
    build a laser with them.

    Now if you can take this stuff and grow bragg mirrors below and above, you
    have something interesting.

    Current semiconductor lasers for communication wavelength use nasty
    material systems. For fiber optics coupling, you want surface emitting
    lasers. Those are right now incredibly hard to manufacture with the
    materials we had until now (Think producing two separate wafers and
    then joining them mechanically). So we couldn't use them. That may have
    changed.

    To sum it up: Faster internet.

  • by pizza_milkshake (580452) on Friday February 05, 2010 @12:53PM (#31035890)
    Don't forget Terbium (Tb) and Erbium (Er). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ytterby [wikipedia.org]

It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions. - Robert Bly

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