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Special journal issue details advances in quantum cascade lasers for detection, monitoring, analysis

02 December 2010

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- The accelerated pace of development of quantum cascade laser (QCL) technology and its many applications -- such as detecting explosive chemicals on clothing, monitoring greenhouse gases and measuring blood sugar levels via breath analysis -- are the subjects of a highly anticipated special section just published in the SPIE journal Optical Engineering. U.S. Naval Research Laboratory scientists Jerry Meyer and Igor Vurgaftman are the special section editors.Federico Capasso

Federico Capasso, professor and senior research fellow at Harvard University and leader of the group who first demonstrated QCL technology 16 years ago at Bell Labs, contributed an invited review paper to the 26-article special section. Earlier this year, Capasso, who is a Fellow of SPIE, was awarded the Berthold Leibinger Future Prize and the Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics.

The review article, on "High-performance midinfrared quantum cascade lasers," is freely available to all as an introduction to both the QCL field and the special section on QC lasers. The article can also be accessed via SPIE Reviews, an open-access journal that includes original review articles as well as selected review articles from all SPIE journals.

Special section authors include Kumar Patel, developer in 1963 of the first CO2 laser, and CEO of Pranalytica and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles; SPIE Fellow Manijeh Razeghi of Northwestern University; Joachim Wagner of Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics; and other leading international researchers.

"In the past 16 years, the QCL has evolved from a barely functional scientific curiosity into a powerful technology poised to offer new capabilities to a broad spectrum of real-world applications," Meyer said. "Compact and inexpensive semiconductor lasers emitting at wavelengths beyond 3 microns are finally becoming practical and available for the military, research and the commercial marketplace."

QCL technology enables compact, powerful, and efficient infrared (IR) sources that meet industrial and military needs, as well as highly sensitive, low-cost, field-friendly narrow-line lasers for spectroscopic applications such as atmospheric monitoring, Meyer said.

Optical Engineering is published in the SPIE Digital Library, with freely searchable abstracts; articles are available via subscription or pay-per-view. Ronald Driggers, Naval Research Laboratory, is Editor-in-Chief. The SPIE Digital Library contains more than 300,000 articles from SPIE Journals and Proceedings, with approximately 18,000 new research papers added each year.

Related free-access content in the SPIE Newsroom:

  • Video interview with Federico Capasso: SPIE.org/x40019.xml
  • Video interview with Kumar Patel: SPIE.org/x40908.xml
  • "Chemical sensing with quantum-cascade lasers," by Sheng Wu and Andrei Deev: SPIE.org/x42495.xml
  • "Amplitude modulation and stabilization of quantum-cascade lasers," by Carlo Sirtori, Stefano Barbieri and Sabine Laurent: SPIE.org/x42358.xml
  • "Modern IR diode lasers enable novel photoacoustic sensors," by Ellen Holthoff, John Bender and Paul Pellegrino: SPIE.org/x42111.xml.

Photo above: Federico Capasso

Jerry Meyer

Jerry Meyer, Naval Research Lab

Igor Vurgaftman

Igor Vurgaftman, Naval Research Lab

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 180,000 constituents from 168 countries, the Society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific, and supports scholarships, grants and other education programs around the world. See www.SPIE.org for information.

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