Researchers at the University of California and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., have developed a 385-nm laser based on nanowires of zinc oxide. If the optically pumped devices can be made to operate by electrical pumping, they may offer applications in optical computing, lab-on-a-chip analysis and information storage. The researchers produced the arrays of 20- to 150-nm-diameter hexagonal nanowires, which look like the bristles on a hairbrush, using an epitaxial growth process on sapphire crystals that they had patterned with a gold film. A visible laser served as the pump source. They reported their results in the June 8 issue of Science.