QUEENS COLLEGE SCIENTIST DEVELOPS A NEW KIND OF LASER;
WITH DEVELOPMENT, HAS POTENTIAL TO HEAL WOUNDS FASTER
FLUSHING, NY, January 8, 2009 -- Queens College physics professor Vinod Menon has developed a new kind of laser—the first flexible microcavity laser. Combining organic and inorganic materials, this hybrid device has the advantages of both material systems. It can conform to any shape, even wrapping itself around objects; is 95% less expensive to make than traditional lasers; thanks to a spin-coating technique, can easily be made in any size; and can be tuned to almost any wave length up to infrared simply by changing the embedded quantum dots to emit different colors.
With further development, this laser has the potential to be used for such medical applications as “light bandages” which can promote faster wound healing, since research shows that infrared light expands the veins, bringing more blood flow to the skin surface and therefore hastening recovery. It can also be used for display applications.
“The main structure of this laser is plastic, which is organic, while the light emission originates from inorganic nanomaterials,” says Professor Menon. He points out that plastics offer the mechanical flexibility while the inorganic materials give superior light emission – thus combining the advantages of both material systems. Traditionally, semiconductor lasers are made of either purely organic or inorganic materials.
Developed under a grant from the Army Research Office, this unique laser contains what may be the world’s first flexible, light-trapping microcavity. Instead of costing $150,000 to $200,000 or more to make, these hybrid lasers can be developed for less than $10,000. Its production technique is so easy that one of the co-authors on a recently published paper about this breakthrough was an undergraduate student at the time he worked on the project.
This link opens the Optics Express article that Professor Menon co-authored with his students, Matthew Luberto, then an undergraduate; Nikesh Valappil, a post doctoral researcher; and Subhasish Chatterjee, a graduate student: A native of India, Professor Menon earned his PhD from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and conducted post-doctoral work at Princeton. He came to Queens College in 2004 through the City University of New York (CUNY) Photonics Initiative. He teaches undergraduate physics at Queens College as well as advanced courses at the CUNY Graduate Center.
Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY) is dedicated to the idea that a first-rate education should be accessible to talented individuals of all backgrounds and financial means. Its more than 19,500 students come from over 140 nations and speak scores of languages, creating an extraordinarily diverse and welcoming environment. Founded in 1937, the college offers an exceptional liberal arts curriculum, with over 115 undergraduate and graduate majors and a variety of specialized honors programs. Located on a beautiful, 77-acre campus in Flushing, Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. Queens College is also highly rated by leading guidebooks—for example, it was named one of the nation's 25 "hottest" and "most interesting" colleges by the 2008 Kaplan/Newsweek How to Get Into College guide and is consistently included in the Princeton Review America's Best Value Colleges and in The Best 361 Colleges. The college will open its first residence hall in August 2009.
More info on the Summit at Queens College is available at: www.qc.cuny.edu/thesummit