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Technology Science

Evanescent Lasers to Speed Up Data Transmission 82

Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) have built the world's first mode-locked silicon evanescent laser. But what is an 'evanescent' laser? It is a step toward 'combining lasers and other key optical components with the existing electronic capabilities in silicon.' In other words, this research work will provide a way to integrate optical and electronic functions on a single chip. As these evanescent lasers can produce stable short pulses of laser light, they will be useful for many optical applications, such as high-speed data transmission or highly accurate optical clocks."
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Evanescent Lasers to Speed Up Data Transmission

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  • by JayTech ( 935793 )
    Or did I not read "effervescent" on first glance? Just think, and Alka-Seltzer powered laser! Technology has come a long way... medicine for today's grandparents is tomorrow's high-tech CD-ROM.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by modecx ( 130548 )
      Hey, that's a great idea. I sure know I could use an effervescent laser after downing a big smothered beef and bean burrito with extra beans. This'll be the best invention since, well, smothered beef and bean burritos!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Actually, I first read "evanescence" -- the only laser featuring Amy Lee.
    • by MrNaz ( 730548 ) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @12:54AM (#20326615) Homepage
      Yea I read effervescent as well. For a moment I thought the article was about researchers who had managed to genetically engineer sharks to live in soda.
    • by sjaguar ( 763407 )
      Nope. I saw the same thing. I was trying to think how bubbles and lasers would interact. Then I got sidetracked by trying to pop bubbles with my green laser pointer and never ended up reading the article.
  • by Cassius Corodes ( 1084513 ) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @12:01AM (#20326211)
    evanescent laser? Does it imbue people with emo powers?
  • by The Orange Mage ( 1057436 ) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @12:01AM (#20326213) Homepage
    of how they can see into that annoying womans' eyes like open doors.

    With freakin' lasers.

    Also, cue the shark comments!
  • ...but can they run linux?

    Okay, probably not (yet). But I'm actually serious about that. Aside from the awesomeness that would be seeing tux on the boot screen of a photonic device, there's the sheer awesomeness that is just running a computer on (mostly) lasers instead of electricity. Even if it's still a long ways off.

    And lets not forget how much power it could theoretically save, what with not having to deal with resistance (not that light doesn't have its own problems, ie refraction and diffraction, bot
    • ...there's the sheer awesomeness that is just running a computer on (mostly) lasers instead of electricity.

      What do you think powers the lasers?

      • Re:Interesting... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Ohreally_factor ( 593551 ) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @02:06AM (#20326993) Journal
        A turtle. Turtles, all the way down, man.

        What bothers me, though, isn't the lasers, it's that this is the second Roland story in less than 24 hours. That Roland must have some amazing oral skills.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          Roland gets financially compensated for his spam. Always has...
        • He is a Gun Slinger though. (Dark Tower Fans?)
        • "That Roland must have some amazing oral skills

          Now the question is who did he have to suck to get two articles on the front page so quickly.


          Now that would make for an interesting poll.
          • I'm pretty sure that Malda has a vagina and not a penis, so it would be licking and not sucking in his case. How do you think he got the nickname "CmdrTaco"?
        • I didn't like it when he was submitting stories that only contained a link to his (ad-supported) blog, but all his recent articles have had links to the original source as well, and this one didn't even link to his blog at all. In addition slashdot added the no-follow tag to the submitter link (the one on his name).

          So, he isn't getting ad-revenue, or even a search engine advantage from this article and he submits interesting stories. What's the problem? How is that any different from any other slashdot subm
  • Uses (Score:5, Funny)

    by Zatchmort ( 1091857 ) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @12:05AM (#20326247)

    a hightly accurate optical clock
    What, you mean, like, looking at the sun??
  • by grapeape ( 137008 ) <mpope7 @ k c . r r . c om> on Thursday August 23, 2007 @12:16AM (#20326313) Homepage
    Its been consolidated to one member?
  • Evanescent (Score:4, Informative)

    by AJWM ( 19027 ) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @12:18AM (#20326331) Homepage
    "Wail, wail, wail. Evanescent Ladle Rat Rotten Hut []", set disk wicket woof.
  • by greenguy ( 162630 ) <estebandido AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday August 23, 2007 @12:22AM (#20326367) Homepage Journal
    ...welcome our heaven-sent lasers.

    And you will, too, if you know what's good for you.
  • by treeves ( 963993 ) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @12:26AM (#20326405) Homepage Journal
    . . .and I'm not helping: I won a spelling bee by spelling "evanescent" correctly in seventh or eighth grade. I didn't know what it meant 'til later, but I figured out how to spell it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Students at UC Santa Barbara actually did something academic! Will wonders never cease?
    • by LACMA ( 1139183 )
      Coincidentally enough, my neighbors here at UCSB aren't partying for the first time in several weeks. Perhaps this is part of a trend?
    • So, to straighten some of the anonymous cowards out a bit.

      UCSB is labeled a party school mainly due to the insane town next door that is Isla Vista, of which the majority of the population are actually community college students in the city, but prefer to live by the beach, hence they live right next to the uni. This misrepresents the university and continues to degrade its reputation. Yes, I am an alumni, and yes, you've struck a small chord on the proverbial nerve, but it's ok.

      The university has produ

      • by crgrace ( 220738 )
        I attended UCSB for a while as well, but did not get a degree there. I went somewhere else.

        I would say that the majority of wild Isla Vista residents are in fact UCSB students. There are many Santa Barbara City College students there, but all the people in my apt building were UCSB. Also, there are a lot of Mexican laborers in the town.

        The Engineering and Materials science departments are outstanding. But it is a large university and there is a lot of party people. It is a fact. UCSB has the largest p
  • well, (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Verte ( 1053342 ) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @12:55AM (#20326625)
    I remember reading some of the patents they got for this a few months ago. I'm pretty sure we've talked about this before, too. That's not to say I'm any less excited- when we start to see this technology applied to inter-core busses, we'll see latency drop low enough to integrate a bucketload of cores on a single die.
  • Evanescent lasers - Goths with Fricken Laser beams atached to their heads? Or lasers which cause the targets to dress in black and mope around the place...
  • by arcade ( 16638 ) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @01:59AM (#20326967) Homepage
    I guess the auditors are cheering!
  • by Hal-9001 ( 43188 ) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @03:30AM (#20327337) Homepage Journal
    According to TFA, the stimulated emission of light actually takes place in an indium phosphide (InP) laser diode. The laser diode is bonded to a silicon waveguide, which acts like a miniature optical fiber to guide the laser light around the chip. The "evanescence" is because the laser light is evanescently coupled from the laser diode into the waveguide. A proper description of evanescent coupling requires a pretty sophisticated understanding of electromagnetism, but the short version is that if you shine a laser beam parallel and adjacent (within a few microns) of a waveguide or optical fiber, some of the laser light will hop over and start propagating down the waveguide or fiber. In particular, by placing the actual laser parallel to and near a carefully-designed waveguide, you can have almost all of the laser light emitted into the waveguide, even though the constituent atoms of the waveguide are not emitting any light at all! For this reason, I think the name "silicon evanescent laser" is misleading since the silicon isn't emitting any light, and Roland Piquepaille's description of evanescent lasers is just flat out wrong. Getting silicon to emit light remains an extremely difficult task, and as far I know, no one has succeeded yet in getting silicon to convert electricity directly into laser light.

    If anyone wants to read the Optics Express paper referenced in TFA, it's available online at 3 []. However, that paper doesn't really define the term "evanescent laser" anywhere, so I had to go back to one of the research group's earlier papers [] to find a decent description of an evanescent laser and understand the physics of the device.
    • Wikipedia speaks to Evanescent wave coupling. For the dino's amongst us, it's just the optical analog of an RF transformer. It only works in the near field (usually magnetic, although electric could also be done.) So these guys have implemented a PLL in new technology. La plus ca change....
      • by Agripa ( 139780 )
        I was actually thinking along the lines of a directional coupler but of course that is just a specialized RF transformer.
  • Until we decide to just get it over with and switch to a direct-bandgap semiconductor. Probably as soon as they figure out how to make a decent P-type fet on GaAs...
  • Everybody keeps reading the word Evanescent as something else. Hopefully this tech will be used to make better contact lenses.

You will never amount to much. -- Munich Schoolmaster, to Albert Einstein, age 10