esocid writes "Conventional electrically-powered laser diodes used in everyday consumer goods like DVD players are currently based on inorganic semiconductor materials such as gallium arsenide, gallium nitride, and related alloys. Plastic laser diodes offer the promise of covering more of the light spectrum than their counterparts, from near ultraviolet to the near infrared. Yet despite over a decade of research worldwide, plastic laser diodes have not yet been demonstrated because there haven't been any plastics that could sustain a large enough current while also supporting the efficient light emission needed to produce a laser beam. Now researchers at Imperial College London, publishing their findings in Nature Materials in April, are studying a plastic related to PFO (polydioctylfluorene), a blue-light emitting material; by making subtle changes in the plastic's chemical structure they have produced a material that transports charges 200 times better than before, while actually increasing its ability to emit light efficiently."
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