Lasers are getting smaller and more powerful — earlier this month, we saw the first-ever atomic scale laser
, and now researchers are reporting the smallest telecommunications-frequency laser
ever built. The laser is one-fifteenth the size of the light waves it can produce, and it works at room temperature.
Small lasers that produce wavelengths of light larger than themselves
could be used to explore the fundamentals of quantum electrodynamics,
and they could also have practical uses, including chip-based optical
communications and ultra-high-resolution imaging. Lasers can transmit
information faster than traditional semiconductors, and they might be
more practical than quantum computers (if those are even a possibility
These new lasers are an efficient step in that direction because they
don’t require a high threshold to start lasing. They could even be
designed to remove the threshold entirely.