With precarious particles called polaritons that straddle the worlds of light and matter, University of Michigan researchers have demonstrated a new and potentially more efficient way to make a laser-like beam. They have made what's believed to be the first polariton laser that is fueled by electrical current as opposed to light, and also works at room temperature, rather than sub-zero.
Those attributes make the device the most real-world ready of the handful of polariton lasers ever developed. While the first lasers were made in the 1950s, it wasn't until the semiconductor version, fueled by electricity rather than light, that the technology took off.
This work could advance efforts to put lasers on computer circuits to replace wire connections, leading to smaller and more powerful electronics. It may also have applications in medical devices and treatments and more.
The researchers didn't develop it with a specific use in mind. They point out that when conventional lasers were introduced, no one envisioned how ubiquitous they would become. Today they're used in the fiber-optic communication that makes the Internet and cable television possible. They are also in DVD players, eye surgery tools, robotics sensors and defense technologies
A polariton is part light and part matter. Polariton lasers harness these particles to emit light. They are predicted to be more energy efficient than traditional lasers.
The new prototype requires 1,000 times less electricity to operate than its conventional counterpart made of the same material.
hint hint - battery saving and a better viability