For the first time, researchers have grown lasers from high-performance materials directly on silicon. Bringing together electrical and optical components on computer chips would speed data transfer within and between computers, but the incompatibility of the best laser materials with the silicon used to make today's chips has been a major hurdle.
By growing nanolasers made of so-called exotic semiconductors on silicon, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have surmounted this hurdle. With further development, the Berkeley lasers could provide ways to transfer more data more quickly.
The work by frequent SPIE contributor Connie Chang-Hasnain has overcome this incompatibility between silicon and laser materials by taking advantage of the properties of nanostructures and by carefully controlling the growth process.
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