SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Aug. 23 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists have built what is described as the world's first mode-locked silicon evanescent laser.
The University of California-Santa Barbara researchers led by Professor John Bowers said the laser can deliver stable short pulses that are useful for many optical applications, including high-speed data transmission and highly accurate optical clocks.
The development is described as a significant step toward the goal of combining lasers and other key optical components on silicon, providing a way to integrate optical and electronic functions on a single chip and enabling new types of integrated circuits. It also introduces a more practical technology with lower cost, lower power consumption and more compact devices.
Present-day computer technology depends on weak electrical currents for data communication within the silicon-based microprocessor. By causing silicon to emit light and exhibit other potentially useful optical properties, the researchers said integration of photonic devices on silicon becomes possible.
The development of the laser is reported in the Sept. 3 issue of the online journal Optics Express.