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Lasers built using inkjet printers

Lasers built using inkjet printers

May 4, 2016

Printed lasers have been developed by a team of French and Hungarian researchers.640_maxresdefault%20(1)

The team has produced a cheap organic laser using an inkjet printer, E&T reports, adding that “the technology is made possible with organic lasers, which amplify light with carbon-containing materials”. The new project may enable them to be manufactured at a very low cost, meaning that they could be thrown away if they failed.

The site added that “organic lasers are not as common as inorganic lasers, like those found in laser pointers, DVD players, and optical mice, but they offer benefits such as high-yield photonic conversion, easy fabrication, low-cost and a wide range of wavelengths”. Sebastien Sanaur, who worked on the project, said that “the low-cost and easiness of laser chip fabrication are the most significant aspects of our results”.

Most customers are accustomed with the type of inkjet printer used in offices, and this technology can be “adapted to print electronic circuits, pharmaceutical drugs and even biological cells”. Sanaur described the process, noting that “by [using] piezoelectric printing, you print where you want, when you want, without wasting raw materials”, explaining that “the process does not require masks, can be done at room temperature and can print on flexible material”.

During the process, the researchers tested many inks but decided to use a commercial ink variety called “EMD6415” which was then “mixed with dyes” before it was “printed in small square shapes onto a quartz slide”. This enables the “dyed ink” to “act as the core of the laser, called a gain medium”, which in turn “amplifies light and produces the characteristically narrow, single-colour laser beam”.

To keep the light magnification, working the laser requires “mirrors to reflect back and forth through the gain medium and an energy source called a pump”. The printed gain medium or “lasing capsule” is disposable, and it is estimated that it could be made for a “few pence”, and could be easily replaced when it wears out.

Two different types of dyes were used to “produce laser emission, ranging from yellow to red,” but it is predicted by the team that dyes of blue and green could also be used. Researchers claim that “with further development, the inexpensive inkjet-printed laser could send data over short plastic fibres and serve as a tool for analysing chemical or biological samples”.

 

 

 

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Categories : Products and Technology

Tags : Inkjet Printers Technology

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