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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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.