September 22, 2009

First efficient diamond laser is created

Australian researchers say they have demonstrated the first laser built with diamonds that has comparable efficiency to lasers built with other materials.

The scientists said their Raman laser paves the way to new defense technologies and improved surgical uses. They said the properties of diamonds also may lead to more powerful lasers that can be optimized to produce laser light colors currently unavailable to existing technologies.

Led by Richard Mildren of Macqaurie University in Sydney and Alexander Sabella of the Defense Science and Technology Organization in Edinburgh, South Australia, the scientists said existing Raman lasers usually use crystals of silicon, barium nitrate or metal tungstate to amplify light. But, they said, diamonds have a higher optical gain, as well as a greater thermal conductivity.

Diamond is quite a bizarre material with unique and extreme properties, Mildren said. Single crystal diamond is very new on the scene as an optical and laser material.

The research is described in the current issue of the journal Optics Letters.