First Liquid Nanoscale Laser developed by Northwestern University Research Team

First Liquid Nanoscale Laser developed by Northwestern University Research Team

The first liquid nanoscale laser technology that could pave the way for development of practical applications, such as a new form of a "lab on a chip" for medical diagnostics, has been developed by Northwestern University scientists.

The nanoscale laser in question could be retuned in real time, which means different colors can be quickly produced by using it.

Other factors apart from changing color in real time that make the new nanolaser different from others are its simple making, reasonable cost involved in production and ability to operate at room temperature.

Demonstrations for nanoscopic lasers came for the first time in 2009. They are currently found only in research labs. Scientists have been greatly attracted to them because they are believed to bring significant advances in technology and for military operations.

Teri W. Odom, who led the research, said their stint has helped them understand what laser designs could be devised in future and what all things would be benefitted if researchers succeeds to develop them.

“My lab likes to go after new materials, new structures and new ways of putting them together to achieve things not yet imagined. We believe this work represents a conceptual and practical engineering advance for on-demand, reversible control of light from nanoscopic sources”, said Odom.

Findings of the study have been published this week by the journal Nature Communications and the paper is titled as ‘Real-time Tunable Lasing from Plasmonic Nanocavity Arrays’. Odaom explained that the liquid nanolaser developed by them is not a laser pointer but a laser device on a chip.

Making changes in the liquid dye in the microfluidic channel above the laser's cavity cause changes in the laser’s color in real time.

Reflective gold nanoparticles were used to make the laser’s cavity. The nanoparticle cavity stays fixed and does not change after tuning of the laser color is done.

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