Ultra Narrow Linewidth Laser on a chip revealed

Researchers from the University of Twente's MESA+ research institute and the photonics company LioniX International have developed the world's most narrowband diode laser on a chip. This laser represents a breakthrough for the fast-growing field of photonics, bringing applications like 5G mobile Internet and far more accurate GPS measurements closer. Research leader Professor Klaus Boller presented the research results during a scientific conference at Laser World in Munich.


This is the world's most accurate laser-on-a-chip by a factor of ten. 

"We are slowly reaching the boundaries of what's possible with electronics." says Boller. "That is why scientists and the private sector are committed to photonics. This involves the deployment of photons (light particles) for transporting and processing data."

"For photonic chips to function as efficiently as possible, it's important to be able to properly control the light signals. This means that all the light particles being transmitted should have the same frequency and therefore the same colour. The University of Twente researchers have developed a minuscule laser on a chip with a maximum linewidth (the maximum uncertainty in frequency) of just 290 Hertz. That means this is the most accurate laser on a chip that has ever been created - and by a factor of ten".  The newly-developed laser is tunable, which means that users can choose the colour of the laser themselves, within a broad spectrum range. 

More accurate monitoring of vital infrastructure René Heideman of LioniX International has been closely involved in the project. "These next generation lasers will allow for much better accuracy in metrology systems, and for next generation navigation! Secondly, we hope it will allow for the next generation Ultra Dense WDM. The new laser will bring several important applications within reach, such as controlling smart movable antennae on 5G base-stations bringing about major savings in energy consumption. We can also expect more accurate GPS systems and smart sensors for monitoring the structural integrity of buildings and bridges."

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