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Lionel Kimerling group at MIT demonstrates germanium laser for moving data with light

05 February 2010

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in a group led by SPIE Member Lionel Kimerling have demonstrated the first laser built from germanium that can produce wavelengths of light useful for optical communication.

Unlike the materials typically used in lasers, germanium is easy to incorporate into existing processes for manufacturing silicon chips. 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.

Jurgen Michel, principal research associate in the MIT Electron Materials Research Group and primary investigator on the germanium-laser project, is an SPIE Member and has contributed 16 papers for SPIE conferences. His latest, on "Single-photon imaging camera development for night vision," will be presented in the conference on Infrared Technology and Applications at SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing in Orlando, Fla., 5-9 April.

Kimerling is the Thomas Lord Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT. He has served on several program committees and has contributed more than 30 papers for SPIE conferences, most recently in the conference on Integrated Optics: Devices, Materials, and Technologies last month at SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco.

Read the full MIT News story.