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New laser technology could kill viruses and improve DVDs
Date:7/5/2011

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) -- A team led by a professor at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering has made a discovery in semiconductor nanowire laser technology that could potentially do everything from kill viruses to increase storage capacity of DVDs.

Ultraviolet semiconductor diode lasers are widely used in data processing, information storage and biology. Their applications have been limited, however, by size, cost and power. The current generation of ultraviolet lasers is based on a material called gallium nitride, but Jianlin Liu, a professor of electrical engineering, and his colleagues have made a breakthrough in zinc oxide nanowire waveguide lasers, which can offer smaller sizes, lower costs, higher powers and shorter wavelengths.

Until now, zinc oxide nanowires couldn't be used in real world light emission applications because of the lack of p-type, or positive type, material needed by all semiconductors. Liu solved that problem by doping the zinc oxide nanowires with antimony, a metalloid element, to create the p-type material.

The p-type zinc oxide nanowires were connected with n-type, or negative type, zinc oxide material to form a device called p-n junction diode. Powered by a battery, highly directional laser light emits only from the ends of the nanowires.

"People in the zinc oxide research community throughout the world have been trying hard to achieve this for the past decade," Liu said. "This discovery is likely to stimulate the whole field to push the technology further."

Liu's findings have been published in the July issue of Nature Nanotechnology. Co-authors are: Sheng Chu, Guoping Wang, Jieying Kong, Lin Li and Jingjian Ren, all graduate students at UC Riverside; Weihang Zhou, a student at Fudan University in China; Leonid Chernyak, a professor of physics at the University of Central Florida; Yuqing Lin, a graduate stud
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Contact: Sean Nealon
sean.nealon@ucr.edu
951-827-1287
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert

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