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Sandia develops 1.3 Micron VCSEL laser

By maynard in News
Wed Jun 07, 2000 at 04:17:32 PM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)

Sandia National Labs has developed a gallium arsenide laser capable of emiting 1.3 micron light on a chip. This has significance for both cheap high speed optical networking and low cost quantum cryptograpic systems. Story found at Eurekalert which links to a Sandia press release here.

Here are some choice quotes:
The new 1.3-micron VCSEL is made mostly from stacks of layers of semiconductor materials common in shorter wavelength lasers -- aluminum gallium arsenide and gallium arsenide. The Sandia team added to this structure a small amount of the new material, indium gallium arsenide nitride (InGaAsN), which was initially developed by Hitachi of Japan in the mid 1990s. The InGaAsN causes the VCSEL's operating wavelength to fall into a range that makes it useable in high-speed Internet connections.
The laser is the light source that transmits information down optical fibers. Two types of semiconductor lasers are used in high-speed data and telecommunications fiber optics -- the edge emitter and the VCSEL. In the edge emitter, which has traditionally dominated the semiconductor laser market, photons are emitted out of one edge of the semiconductor wafer after rebounding off mirrors that have been literally cleaved out of the crystalline substrate.
In the VCSEL, laser photons bounce between mirrors grown into the structure and then emit vertically from the wafer surface. VCSELs, which are grown by the thousands on a single wafer, have significant advantages over edge-emitting lasers in the areas of lower manufacturing, packaging, alignment, and testing costs, as well as lower power dissipation and higher reliability.

"The key to making this work was to optimize the material quality of the InGaAsN and to make subtle changes to the rest of the structure," says John Klem, Sandia researcher working on the VCSEL project. "Once we had the high quality InGaAsN in hand, our extensive experience with shorter wavelength VCSELs allowed us to quickly produce the full 1.3-micron device."

Esherick says in addition to the obvious benefits of 1.3-micron VCSELs for the civilian telecommunication markets, there are equally important benefits for DOE's defense applications.

"What's exciting for us is that the 1.3-micron light can be transmitted through silicon -- the silicon is transparent at that wavelength," he says. "The additional flexibility this offers for integrating photonic devices with silicon based microsystems will have significant implications for national security systems."

While Klem doesn't directly state what national security implications this technology presents, we can rest assured he's talking about cheap quantum cryptographic systems which beat "man-in-the-middle" attacks by detecting quantum state change after observation (I'm no physicist so please correct me if I've made a mistake).


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Sandia develops 1.3 Micron VCSEL laser | 10 comments (10 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Looks like a duplicated line at the... (none / 0) (#7)
by lordsutch on Wed Jun 07, 2000 at 12:48:52 PM EST

lordsutch voted 1 on this story.

Looks like a duplicated line at the end, but otherwise 'tis cool.

Linux CDs. Schuyler Fisk can sell me long distance anytime.

I don't think that it has anything ... (none / 0) (#2)
by fluffy grue on Wed Jun 07, 2000 at 01:11:41 PM EST

fluffy grue voted 1 on this story.

I don't think that it has anything to do with quantum encryption. I think they're just saying that they can have much smaller, faster, stronger encryption somehow thanks to the fact that silicon is transparent to that wavelength.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

MLP and MQP... (none / 0) (#5)
by SgtPepper on Wed Jun 07, 2000 at 01:21:43 PM EST

SgtPepper voted -1 on this story.


Correct that glitch at the end and ... (none / 0) (#4)
by pretzelgod on Wed Jun 07, 2000 at 01:27:44 PM EST

pretzelgod voted -1 on this story.

Correct that glitch at the end and i'll vote yes.

Ever heard of the School of the Americas?

This seems pretty cool, but is way ... (none / 0) (#6)
by Denor on Wed Jun 07, 2000 at 01:48:41 PM EST

Denor voted 0 on this story.

This seems pretty cool, but is way over my head :)


Heh. "InGaAsN". Looks like Intel's ... (none / 0) (#1)
by Pelorat on Wed Jun 07, 2000 at 01:56:27 PM EST

Pelorat voted 1 on this story.

Heh. "InGaAsN".

Looks like Intel's got a name for their next chip, the Ingaasium. Face it, it's no worse than Itanium...


I'm not personally interested in th... (3.00 / 1) (#3)
by Pseudonymous Coward on Wed Jun 07, 2000 at 02:49:16 PM EST

Pseudonymous Coward voted 1 on this story.

I'm not personally interested in this kind of science but it does make a fine example of the sort of article that's worth posting.

The multitude of quotes was very nice and I encourage more of that sort of thing, but how about some additional analysis or editorial content? As news, it's a good substantial article but in the end it still isn't telling me anything that a little MLP of the press release wouldn't.

What does MLP and MQP stand for? (nt) (none / 0) (#8)
by maynard on Wed Jun 07, 2000 at 04:37:31 PM EST


Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.
[ Parent ]
Re: What does MLP and MQP stand for? (nt) (none / 0) (#9)
by rusty on Wed Jun 07, 2000 at 06:14:06 PM EST

MLP is our own homebrewed acronym, it stands for "Mindless Link Propagation"

I'm assuming that MQP follows the same format, and stands for "Mindless Quote Propagation"

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: What does MLP and MQP stand for? (nt) (none / 0) (#10)
by SgtPepper on Wed Jun 07, 2000 at 10:07:11 PM EST

Yeppers! It seemed to fit IMO :)

[ Parent ]
Sandia develops 1.3 Micron VCSEL laser | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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