February 22, 2005

Science is cool: Intel Builds First Continuous Laser with Silicon

From Reuters via eWeek, Intel Builds First Continuous Laser with Silicon:

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters)—Researchers from Intel Corp. have created the first continuous laser beam using silicon components, a development the chip maker called a major scientific breakthrough that could herald significant advances in communications and medicine.

Mario Paniccia, the director of the photonics lab, said the device could have medical applications in the years ahead, replacing large lasers used for surgery that cost as much as $50,000 each with far less expensive and smaller devices.

Paniccia said Intel is aiming to create products from its work in silicon photonics by the end of the decade.

Smaller / cheaper lasers will lead people to use lasers in new applications, probably in places where we never thought to use lasers before.

All around us the basic building blocks of technology are getting lighter, smaller, cheaper, and/or faster. Then these building blocks are combined in new ways to improve or even revolutionize the way we live. Keeping an eye out for improvements in the building blocks of our technology (like improved materials, devices, and infrastructure) can give one a “heads up” on future products and services.

Posted by georgegmacdonald at February 22, 2005 07:46 PM