Research CommentariesLASER PHYSICS

Geometrical Shaping of Microlaser Emission Patterns

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Science  05 Jun 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5369, pp. 1544-1545
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5369.1544

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Summary

In practical optoelectronics, there is interest in finding lasers that operate with great efficiency at low electrical input current. In his Research Commentary, Gornik discusses results reported by Gmachl et al . in the same issue on a new laser resonator design with these properties. By slightly deforming a cylindrical laser cavity, the researchers were able to move from the well-known "whispering-gallery" lasing modes to "bow-tie" resonances. In addition to developing a useful laser structure, the deformed lasers also provide a system in which researchers can study transitions of optical light rays to chaotic behavior.