Friday, April 13, 2007

Fun with Photons

I confess.  I'm a tool guy.  If there's a tool I don't have, I want one.  If there's a tool I do have, I'm dying for a chance to use it.  Welders, chisels, makes no difference I love them all.

When I hear about a new tool to do something completely nuts, I love that too.  NIST just posted a few kewl things on Eureka AlertThis one's a beauty.
In a significant improvement on previous designs, physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have devised a system that delivers such pairs with great efficiency over a wide range of energy, and with very little noise from extraneous photons.
While it doesn't reveal new properties of quantum entanglement itself, it does provide lots of entangled photons, cheap.  Awesome.

How about quantum dot lasers?
Quantum dots are nanoscale regions in a crystal structure that can trap electrons and “holes,” the charge carriers that transport current in a semiconductor. When a trapped electron-hole pair recombines, light of a specific frequency is emitted. Quantum-dot lasers have attracted attention as possible embedded communications devices not only for their small size, but because they switch on with far less power then even the solid-state lasers used in DVD players.

In recent experiments*, the NIST-Stanford-Northwestern team made “microdisk” lasers by layering indium arsenide on top of gallium arsenide. The mismatch between the different-sized atomic lattices forms indium arsenide islands, about 25 nanometers across, that act as quantum dots. The physicists then etched out disks, 1.8 micrometers across and containing about 130 quantum dots, sitting atop gallium arsenide pillars.

Intel processors right now are made on a 65 nanometer lithographic process.  They will be going to 45 nanometers pretty soon.  That's high production commercial kit.  25 nanometer feature size isn't too long away.  Kewl!

The Photonic Phantom

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