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The "Spaser" is a new nano-laser capable of being smaller than 100 nanometers

Tel Aviv University researchers have created a nano-laser that could increase the possibilities in a number of fields such a medical and communications industries. 

Professor David Bergman, study leader and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Tel Aviv University, along with a team of researchers, have created the Spaser, which is a groundbreaking nano-laser that can be used in several different applications. 

Up until this point, it was understood that an ordinary laser's physical length could not be less than one half of the wavelength of its light. Despite the laser's ability to transmit digital TV signals and telephone connections around the world as well as strike tumors, which are both admirable advancements, the fact that the laser's physical length could only be so long has prevented it from being used in several industries. 

But now, the Spaser, which is an acronym for "surface plasmon amplification by stimulated emission of radiation," has the ability to be as small as needed and can be used in future technologies. It utilizes surface plasma waves, which have a wavelength that can be smaller than the light it creates. According to Bergman, the Spaser is capable of being less than 100 nanometers long, which is significantly less than the wavelength of visible light.

"It rhymes with laser, but our Spaser is different," said Bergman. "Based on pure physics, it's like a laser, but much, much smaller. 

One possible application for the Spaser is in the medical field. For instance, a microscope based on the Spaser could be 10 times more powerful and sensitive than today's microscopes. The technology could go as far as developing a microscope that can show genetic base pairs in DNA. 

Another application that could incorporate the use of Spaser technology is computer/electronic technology. The Spaser could allow computers and other electronics to function at speeds "100 times greater" than anything we have today. The Spaser could do this because it uses light instead of electrons to communicate. 

Yet another proposed application would be more efficient solar energy collectors.

Bergman and his fellow researchers are convinced that the Spaser will surpass any laser used today, and will be a crucial part of the future of nanotechnologies. Bergman already patented the theory in 2003, but is now working to commercialize the Spaser.  

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By CrazyBernie on 1/13/2011 12:36:31 PM , Rating: 2
.... do we need some nano-fricken sharks?

RE: Sooo....
By ekv on 1/13/2011 8:18:47 PM , Rating: 2
umm, at that level, they're called viruses.

And I bet you thought Necrotizing fasciitis was a problem.

Process technology
By Klober on 1/13/2011 1:16:35 PM , Rating: 2
Could this extend the possibility of shrinking process technology even further?

RE: Process technology
By MasterBlaster7 on 1/14/2011 3:23:03 AM , Rating: 2
No, Processor technology is going to hit a wall between 2016-2020. Because you cant make atoms smaller.

What this photonics. Using photons in processors instead of electrons. Both would have the same "shrink" wall. But, photons dont generate heat the way electrons do. So, your 3GHz electronic computer can be a 3THz photonics computer because heat is not an issue. They say in this article 100 times faster but its more like 1000 times faster. Oh, and photons travel a little bit faster than electrons...not a ton...but enough to make a photonic computer faster due to the pure speed of light alone.

hope that helps

faster internet/home network
By dgingeri on 1/13/2011 6:20:52 PM , Rating: 2
This is almost certainly going to be what brings 10Gbe to home and to home internet connections. No more 2" long SFPs required for 10Gbe cards, which means cheaper technology, which means it will make it home sooner.

Of course, we'll have to have every expansion slot be PCIe X4 2.0 so it could handle the bandwidth. Intel keeps shorting their customers with these processors that only handle 16 PCIe lanes.

RE: faster internet/home network
By ekv on 1/13/2011 8:15:32 PM , Rating: 2
Intel actually is working on optical interconnects. They may be putting lasers on their processors....

If you think about it for a second, it makes sense. Cuts down the number of pins tremendously and you'd improve your bandwidth to main memory.

That's just one possibility.

By drewsup on 1/15/2011 6:57:22 AM , Rating: 2
100 nm is at the low/middle end of ultraviolet range. Most impressive, seeings how a traditional red laser is at the mid 600 nm range. This range is also germicidal, which raises more practical applications in the medical field. Well done!

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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