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Feb 17th, 2011
 
Boston University researchers awarded $1.5 million to develop handheld UV laser
 
Professor Theodore Moustakas (ECE) of Boston University has received a $1.5 million, two-year subcontract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to use molecular beam epitaxy of aluminum gallium nitride to help develop a handheld, electron-beam pumped ultraviolet semiconductor laser
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The laser would reportedly be the first handheld device that would be the could operate within the ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum.


Its ultra-low emission wavelength and compact size allows such a laser to be employed for a range of defense and commercial applications, including: non-line-of-sight communication in dense urban areas and other military theaters, identification of biological and chemical substances used in potential terror attacks via airborne particles, and point-of-care chemical analyses of blood and other bodily fluids.

The ECE research team will produce the core laser material, aluminum gallium nitride, and then construct component devices from multiple layers of the material. The researchers will evaluate the materials by directing electron beams at them in the lab.

Applied Physics Technologies and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory will design miniature electron guns to pump the laser, and Photon Systems, Inc., the prime contractor, will integrate everything into a prototype sized below one cubic inch.


 
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