The world’s first electrically pumped thin-film laser could be transformative for a range of applications including self-driving cars, facial recognition and emerging communication technologies.
An unconventional class of materials called metal halide perovskites could become a cost-effective light source in optical devices, providing brightness in phone displays and televisions alongside well-established organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays.
Now, researchers have uncovered further applications for metal halide perovskites by coaxing the light-emitting devices to function under high intensity conditions, pushing capabilities towards the operating conditions of a laser. While optical communications in the form of lasers would not fully replace the standard fiber-optic cables required for long distances, the new technology could serve as a more efficient means of short-distance communication, currently supported by copper wiring, by transmitting large quantities of information at the speed of light.
The technology would have implications for the Internet of Things (IoT), the growing network of objects embedded with sensors and software to exchange data with other devices in the network. Other applications include self-driving cars and facial recognition technologies, which employ laser beams to create 3D representations of surveyed environments and objects.
Metal halide perovskites have demonstrated the ability to function for these purposes as a high intensity emitter, but more work needs to be done. If the materials can operate reliably at high intensities, this new technology could have significant prospects.
“Developing a technology with the capability of being seamlessly integrated on silicon microelectronics, and converting those chips into systems that can emit light would be a game changer for a considerable number of applications.” — Barry Rand
Claire Gmachl, Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering; Noel Chris Giebink, Ph.D. ’09, Penn State
Graduate students William B. Gunnarsson and James Loy; Kwangdong Roh, Ewha Womans University; Lianfeng Zhao, Ph.D. ’19, Clemson University
Patents pending. Princeton is seeking outside interest for the development of this technology.
U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency