Applied Physics

Single-Wire Light Source

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Science  09 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5545, pp. 1243-1245
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5545.1243e

Clusters of oriented zinc oxide nanowires have been shown to exhibit ultraviolet lasing when excited by an optical source, but an open question is whether the same activity can be observed in single nanowires. Using near-field scanning optical microscopy to characterize the topography and photoluminescence (PL) of individual nanowires, Johnson et al. show that although many of the nanowires exhibit only enhanced emission and act as waveguides, the lack of lasing may be ascribed to chemical or mechanical damage during the dispersal process. However, for some well-isolated nanowires, narrowing of the emission spectra was observed. Although only a few of the nanowires showed this behavior and the threshold intensity to induce PL was higher than that required for arrays of wires, these results suggest that lasing does indeed originate from individual nanowires. Such nanoscale light sources may be expected to be critical components of microdevices and optical computing and data storage.—MSL

J. Phys. Chem. B., 10.1021/jp012304t.

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