Fast, Cheap, and Very Bright

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Science  14 Feb 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5302, pp. 941-942
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5302.941

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Data communications relies as never before on high-performance lasers for generating the pulses that travel down optical fibers. In his Perspective, Fasol discusses a recently invented laser—the quantum-dot vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser. Made possible by breakthroughs in crystal growth, this laser operates at room temperature and may soon be commercially viable.