Monday, May 27, 2013

Scientists find that graphene can be used to build lasers


Scientists find that graphene can be used to build lasers

You already know that graphene can be used to make transistors, solar cells and even Sennheiser-quality cans. But if you think that's about as cool as the carbon material can get, listen to this: It can also be used to make ultrashort-pulse lasers. According to scientists from a smattering of institutions, the atomic-scale chickenwire material has the ability to absorb light effectively -- much like a sponge -- over a broad range of wavelengths. It can then release the light it absorbs in quick bursts that last a few femtoseconds each (with one femtosecond lasting one millionth of one billionth of a second), which is what ultrashort-pulse lasers do. With graphene as a component instead of traditional materials, scientists could develop a laser as small as a pencil that's immune to thermal damage typically caused by intense beams. The finished product, if ever someone actually concocts one, could be applied across a variety of fields -- everything from pollution monitoring to medicine. For those unafraid of technobabble, there's plenty more in the source link.

[Image credit: Michaelpkk, Wikimedia]

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Source: Nature