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Britain's DTI Funds Research on Mid-Infrared Lasers

Photonics.com
Jun 2006
The University of Surrey in England has been awarded £118,000 ($215,000) as part of a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) -funded consortium of two universities and five industrial partners, led by British defense technology and security company Qinetiq, with total funding from Britain's DTI of £1 million ($1.8 million) for the next three years. The aim of the project is to obtain room temperature operation of mid-infrared semiconductor lasers through the use of strained layer engineering at the nanoscale to develop a novel laser with a highly efficient active region containing InAlSb/InSb (indium aluminum antimonide/indium antimonide) quantum wells. Researchers involved in the project said the practical realization of mid-infrared semiconductor lasers which can operate at room temperature will revolutionize how these lasers are used, transforming them from a specialist research curiosity to a pervasive technology for healthcare, environmental monitoring and manufacturing, free space optical communications and other applications. For example, these lasers will enable the development of an entirely new instrument for medical imaging at the nanoscale, they said. Researchers from the ATI (Advanced Technology Institute) at the University of Surrey are responsible for theoretical modeling of the laser structures.


GLOSSARY
indium
Metal used in components of the crystalline semiconductor alloys indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs), indium gallium arsenide phosphide (InGaAsP), and the binary semiconductor indium phosphide (InP). The first two are lattice-matched to InP as the light-emitting medium for lasers or light-emitting diodes in the 1.06- to 1.7-µm range, and the last are used as a substrate and cladding layer.
optical communications
The transmission and reception of information by optical devices and sensors.
semiconductor laser
A semiconductor material which is designed and grown for the efficient production of short wavelength stimulated emission through high gain as well as low internal losses. Materials with band gap energies which emit radiation efficiently within the desired wavelength region are used. Diodes may emit vertically in relation to the laser material junction in a VCSEL configuration or horizontally in an edge emitting configuration. Synonymous with laser diode.  Sometimes used...
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