From silicon seeds, laser might sprout | Science News


Science News is a nonprofit.

Help us keep you informed.


From silicon seeds, laser might sprout

4:31pm, January 8, 2001

Silicon microchips could perform faster and better if light rather than electrons was used to ferry signals between transistors. Packing silicon into tiny nuggets known as quantum dots (SN: 6/17/00, p. 392) may make such light-accelerated silicon circuitry possible, new research shows.

Despite being the mainstay material of electronics, silicon generally is ill-suited for light-producing devices such as lasers and light-emitting diodes. A research team led by Lorenzo Pavesi of the University of Trento in Povo and Italy's National Institute for the Physics of Matter nevertheless reports amplifying a laser beam's intensity by passing it through a layer of silicon quantum dots. The researchers first excited the dots, each just 3 nanometers in diameter, with another laser beam.

Pavesi and his colleagues report their work in the Nov. 23 Nature. "Before this paper, people said that building a laser with silicon is impossible. Now . . . people say that it's worth a tr

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content