Friday, March 4, 2011
Mastering bandwidth: Researchers develop tunable, low-cost laser device: The new laser is constructed using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology to achieve wavelength tunability. By moving a tiny mirror, the laser switches between different operating modes, each of which produces a different wavelength. This tuning capability is built into a ‘master’ laser, which injects laser light into a secondary ‘slave’ laser. The slave laser increases the power of the emitted light, suppresses unwanted wavelengths, and allows for the encoding of information by modulating the light intensity. The two-part configuration surpasses the performance of conventional tunable lasers, without increasing bulk or cost.