08 February 2008

I Had to Dump Her--Her Perfume Kept Setting Off My Home Laser Spectrometer Defense!

Thirty two wavelength-specific lasers can be packed onto a single chip to allow a tiny laster spectrometer to monitor almost any chemical in the environment.
The team, which reported its findings in the Dec. 3 issue of Applied Physics Letters, was headed by Federico Capasso, the Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering, and includes graduate student Benjamin Lee, researchers Mikhail Belkin and Jim MacArthur, and undergraduate Ross Audet, all of Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The researchers have also filed for U.S. patents covering this new class of laser chips.

The broad emission spectrum of the Quantum Cascade Laser material, grown by a commercial reactor used for the mass production of semiconductor lasers, is designed using state-of-the-art nanotechnology by controlling the size of nanometric thin quantum wells in the active region.... The tunability of the laser chip can be extended up to 10-fold and several widely spaced absorption features can be targeted with the same chip, which will enable the detection in parallel of an extremely large number of trace gases in concentrations of parts per billion in volume. A portable compact spectrometer with this capability would revolutionize chemical sensing. ____Source
The ability to pack more functionality into smaller spaces--and mass produce this functionality economically--leads to a smarter environment that can sense more hazards.

Of course, getting your romantic liasons to change their perfume or cologne is entirely your own responsibility.

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