Monday, August 17, 2009

World's First "Spaser"

New paper out of Nature is reporting the world's smallest laser. But it turns out that this is no ordinary laser. Rather, it is a "spaser". {Link open for free only for a limited time}

Whereas a laser amplifies light, using a mirrored cavity to intensify it, a spaser amplifies surface plasmons — tiny oscillations in the density of free electrons on the surface of metals, which, in turn, produce light waves.

The article didn't actually say what "spaser" really stands for. But if we go with the acronym for "laser", then I would guess that "spaser" means "Surface Plasmon Amplified Stimulated Emission Radiation".

Very neat!


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