The miniature laser diode emits more intense light than those currently used. Credit: Jacque Brund
A new laser device created at the Univ. of Central Florida could
make high-speed computing faster and more reliable, opening the door to a new
age of the Internet.
Professor Dennis Deppe’s miniature laser diode emits more
intense light than those currently used. The light emits at a single wavelength,
suiting it for use in compact disc players, laser pointers, and optical mice
for computers, in addition to high-speed data transmission.
Until now, the biggest challenge has been the failure rate of
these tiny devices. They don’t work very well when they face huge workloads;
the stress makes them crack.
The smaller size and elimination of non-semiconductor materials
means the new devices could potentially be used in heavy data transmission,
which is critical in developing the next generation of the Internet. By
incorporating laser diodes into cables in the future, massive amounts of data
could be moved across great distances almost instantaneously. By using the tiny
lasers in optical clocks, the precision of GPS and high-speed wireless data
communications also would increase.
“The new laser diodes represent a sharp departure from past
commercial devices in how they are made,” Deppe said from his lab inside the College of Optics and Photonics. “The new devices
show almost no change in operation under stress conditions that cause
commercial devices to rapidly fail.”
“At the speed at which the industry is moving, I wouldn’t be
surprised if in four to five years, when you go to Best Buy to buy cables for
all your electronics, you’ll be selecting cables with laser diodes embedded in
them,” he added.
However, there is still one challenge that the team is working
to resolve. The voltage necessary to make the laser diodes work more
efficiently must be optimized
Deppe said once that problem is resolved, the uses for the laser
diodes will multiply. They could be used in lasers in space to remove unwanted
“We usually have no idea how often we use this technology in our
everyday life already,” Deppe said. “Most of us just don’t think about it. With
further development, it will only become more commonplace.”