Apr. 25, 2008 – Researchers at Chuo U. have developed technology that could slash costs for high-output long-wavelength lasers by 90%, reports the Nikkei Business Daily.
Gallium arsenide (GaAs) can process laser light into a relatively long 5μm-20μm wavelength, but the crystal orientation must be optimized. The research group layered GaAs crystals 100μm thick at room temperature in a vacuum using argon particles to remove the oxide film on the crystals’ surface, allowing them to be put together with no gap. Shining a 1.06μm laser on them resulted in an output wavelength of 10μm.
So far the researchers have been able to produce six layers with this technique, the Nikkei but aims to increase the crystal thickness to “a practical level” for commercialization in roughly three years, for use in semiconductor processing and materials analysis — where the group estimates it could reduce the cost of long-wavelength lasers by a factor of 10.