CSIC succeeds in making portable and inexpensive stochastic lasers with applications in microscopy


Research carried out by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) has succeeded in developing a new technique for manufacturing stochastic lasers using electrical energy, as described in Nature Photonics.

Conventional lasers are characterized by the emission of a coherent light beam, in one direction with a precise frequency and phase. On the other hand, the emission of a stochastic laser is incoherent; it occurs intermittently, in the form of pulses containing beams in different directions and with different frequencies and phases.

CSIC researcher at the Institute of Materials Science of Madrid (ICMM), responsible for the research, Cefe López, explains that “the breakthrough consists of the first realization of electrically powered stochastic lasers”. Thus, the use of this type of lasers is made cheaper and easier. “It can be carried around in a briefcase as it can even be hooked up to a battery to work, or attached to a microscope.

Conventional lasers, due to their coherence, create a grainy or task effect, which is not suitable for microscopic imaging. When illuminating objects with them, interference effects are produced which cause areas of light accumulation and areas of darkness which cause this effect. “However, a stochastic laser by nature has a broader spectrum. The consequence is that it does not produce speckle and is more suitable for illumination in microscopy,” explains the CSIC researcher.

Until now, to obtain stochastic lasers, another pump laser was required, which made it difficult to transport due to its large size and weight, as well as high economic investment. With this new technique, it is possible to modify a conventional laser that can work with any power source. The method consists in treating the conventional laser by an ablation technique, by modifying the roughness of one of the laser mirrors by means of a high energy pulsed laser.

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