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Collaborative Research Develops Raman Microlaser Sensor for Detecting Nanoparticles

A research team at the St Louis’ Washington University and China’s Tsinghua University has collaborated to develop the Raman microlaser sensor that has the capability to not only detect but also count individual nanoparticles. The sensor can detect nanoparticles that are as small as 10nm.

The image shows arrays of self-referenced and self-heterodyned Whispering-Gallery Raman microlasers for single nanoparticle detection. Credit: J. Zhu, B. Peng, S.K. Ozdemir, L. Yang

The sensor was created in a silicon dioxide chip without the need for doping with rare-earth ions. These ions are normally used to render optical gain to the microlaser. Raman lasing was integrated in the silica microcavity using the mode splitting method developed by the team. This development will be beneficial to a wide range of fields including electronics, plasmonics, metamaterials, biomedical, and acoustics fields.

The Raman microlaser sensor belongs to the whispering gallery mode resonators (WGMR) class. Earlier resonators were dependent on morphology and mirrors were not used for light reflection. This mini-laser sensor supports excitation patterns in its doughnut-shaped ring that are of identical frequencies. These patterns are termed as “frequency degenerate modes”. Usually, specific wavelength bands are required for pump lasers. However, employing the Raman process does away with this requirement, as pumps belonging to any wavelength band can be used for obtaining Raman gain. This enables customizing the lasing frequency to suit the specific sensing environment.

When a Raman laser beam hits a nanoparticle, it splits and generates lasing lines. These lines act as reference to each other for sensing the particles.

This study was led by Lan Yang, the Das Family Career Development Associate Professor in Electrical & Systems Engineering at the Washington University in St. Louis and it has been published in the online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

References

Stuart Milne

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Stuart Milne

Stuart graduated from the University of Wales, Institute Cardiff with a first-class honours degree in Industrial Product Design. After working on a start-up company involved in LED Lighting solutions, Stuart decided to take an opportunity with AZoNetwork. Over the past five years at AZoNetwork, Stuart has been involved in developing an industry leading range of products, enhancing client experience and improving internal systems designed to deliver significant value for clients hard earned marketing dollars. In his spare time Stuart likes to continue his love for art and design by creating art work and continuing his love for sketching. In the future Stuart, would like to continue his love for travel and explore new and exciting places.

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