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Chinese Researchers Unveil ‘Ultrathin Crystal’ Set to Revolutionize Laser Technology

Chinese Researchers Unveil ‘Ultrathin Crystal’ Set to Revolutionize Laser Technology

Chinese Researchers Unveil ‘Ultrathin Crystal’ Set to Revolutionize Laser Technology

Chinese Researchers Unveil ‘Ultrathin Crystal’ Set to Revolutionize Laser Technology

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  • Chinese researchers unveil Twist Boron Nitride (TBN), redefining optical crystals.
  • TBN boosts laser efficiency, surpassing traditional crystals.
  • Team pioneers compact, high-function lasers with twist-phase-matching theory.
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Chinese researchers has unveiled a revolutionary ultrathin optical crystal poised to reshape the landscape of laser technology.

Led by Prof. Wang Enge from the School of Physics at Peking University, the researchers leveraged a novel theory to create Twist Boron Nitride (TBN), a micron-level thick crystal that stands as the thinnest optical crystal known globally.

The TBN crystal boasts a remarkable enhancement in energy efficiency, surpassing traditional crystals of equivalent thickness by a staggering factor of 100 to 10,000. Prof. Wang Enge, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, described this as an original innovation in optical crystal theory, establishing a new frontier in crafting optical crystals using two-dimensional thin-film materials of light elements.

The research findings, recently published in the journal Physical Review Letters, signify a departure from the conventional approach to optical crystal development. Over the past six decades, optical crystal research has largely adhered to two phase-matching theories proposed by U.S. scientists. However, the limitations of these theories and material systems have hindered the progress needed for the evolution of laser devices, particularly in terms of miniaturization, high integration, and functionalization.

To address these challenges, Prof. Wang Enge and Prof. Liu Kaihui, director of the Institute of Condensed Matter and Material Physics at Peking University, spearheaded the development of the twist-phase-matching theory. This theory, the third of its kind, is based on light-element materials and offers a fresh perspective on enhancing laser efficiency.

Prof. Liu Kaihui explained the significance of the twist mechanism, likening the laser generated by optical crystals to a coordinated marching column. This mechanism ensures a high level of coordination in direction and pace, resulting in a substantial improvement in the energy conversion efficiency of the laser.

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The TBN crystal, with a thickness ranging from 1 to 10 microns, represents a departure from the millimeter or centimeter-level thickness observed in previously known optical crystals. The team is currently seeking patents for TBN production technology in various countries, including the United States, Britain, and Japan. Additionally, a TBN laser prototype has been developed, and the team is actively collaborating with enterprises to advance new-generation laser technology.

Prof. Wang Enge emphasized the pivotal role of optical crystals in laser technology development, stating that the future of laser technology hinges on the design theory and production technology of optical crystals.

The TBN crystal, with its ultrathin size, excellent integration potential, and new functionalities, is poised to usher in breakthroughs in quantum light sources, photonic chips, artificial intelligence, and other fields in the future. This monumental achievement positions Chinese researchers at the forefront of optical crystal innovation, paving the way for the next era of laser technology.

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