Schematic of light being compressed and sustained in the 5 nanometer gap (left) and an electron microscope image of the hybrid design shown in the schematic (Image: Xiang Zhang Lab, UC Berkeley)
Light from a single plasmon laser emanating from the optical setup used by UC Berkeley researchers (Photo: Xiang Zhang Lab, UC Berkeley)
Breakthroughs are coming thick and fast – or should that be thin and fast – in the field of nanoscale lasers. It wasn’t even a month ago that we reported on the development of a laser emitting 'metal-semiconductor-metal sandwich', made up of a semiconductor as thin as 80 nanometers laying between 20-nanometer dielectric layers. But now researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have reached a new milestone in laser physics by creating the world's smallest semiconductor laser, capable of generating visible light in a space smaller than a single protein molecule.
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