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Nanotech startups forge ahead

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Nanosys has exclusively licensed semiconductor nanowire-based nanolasers from The Regents of the University of California for use in electro-optical and lithographic applications.

Current gallium arsenide and gallium nitride-based solid-state lasers consist of multilayer thin films and are several micrometers in size.

But these new nanolasers, developed by Nanosys’ scientific founder Dr Peidong Yang and reported in Science journal, are ten thousand times thinner than a human hair.

Potential applications for the new lasers include high-density information storage, high definition display, photonics, optocommunications, and chemical analysis on microchips.

But the technology could also enable the future development of extreme-resolution nano-lithography for next-generation microprocessor fabrication.

The laser can be tuned to emit light of different wavelengths from the infrared to the deep ultraviolet by simply changing the diameter or composition of the nanowire, according to Nanosys scientific founder Dr Peidong Yang.

“At this preliminary stage of development, these nanolasers have great potential to compete with the gallium nitride blue laser in terms of ease of manufacture, brightness, and much smaller dimensions,” Dr Yang said.

“This exclusive license will enable us to pursue near term products such as ultra-high resolution photolithography and laser powered biochips,” Nanosys co-founder and business development director Dr Stephen Empedocles said.

“It will also pave the way for further research into optical communications and all optical computing.”

Organic semiconductor company Nanolayers has also announced a new round of funding led by Intel Capital.

The company’s organic semiconducting materials hold the potential for lowering microelectronic production costs and expanding device configurations, the company said.

The core technology is known as molecular layer epitaxy (MLE), which grants engineers the ability to form highly uniform and stable organic circuitry at less than one-hundredth the size previously attainable, the company added.

Other investment partners include Millennium Materials Technology Fund and Summit Technology.

Initial applications include flat-panel TFT-LCD and OLED displays and semiconductor ICs.

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