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News from the basic research front: Bell Labs researchers announce first electrically powered organic laser.

The yellow-green laser was obtained using high-quality crystals of tetracene in the shape of thin discs. It is the first organic laser powered electrically rather than by pumping by another laser.

A short blurb in Science called the achievement "a step that could open the floodgates for novel lasers that are cheaper and that shine in colors inorganics can't match."

From the Lucent press release:
"`These research results open up a whole new set of possibilities for electrically driven lasers,' said Federico Capasso, physical research vice president at Bell Labs. `They not only would be inexpensive to manufacture, but they could be tailor made to produce a wide range of wavelengths, each of which could have specific applications. They can be driven by today's silicon circuitry and may someday be combined with plastic transistors, which would further reduce production costs and potentially lead to lightweight, flexible products.'"

The NY Times ariticle stated that "Such devices, which have been dubbed `plastic lasers,' are eventually likely to be cheaper than today's metal solid-state lasers," but concluded with the comment, "For all the excitement, commercialization of the discovery is likely to take many years."

Wondering what kind of effect this might have in the long term on the semiconductor laser industry...

(Disclosure: Cree: long, Lucent: no position)
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