(SciTechDaily) Lasers that can cool materials could revolutionize fields ranging from bio-imaging to quantum communication.
In 2015, University of Washington researchers announced that they can use a laser to cool water and other liquids below room temperature. Now that same team has used a similar approach to refrigerate something quite different: they cooled a solid semiconductor by at least 20 degrees C, or 36 F, below room temperature. The team is the first to demonstrate “solid-state laser refrigeration of nanoscale sensors,” added Pauzauskie, who is also a faculty member at the UW Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute and the UW Institute for Nano-engineered Systems.
Pauzauskie, also a UW professor of materials science and engineering and a senior scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. “We are using infrared light to cool the resonator, which reduces interference or ‘noise’ in the system. This method of solid-state refrigeration could significantly improve the sensitivity of optomechanical resonators, broaden their applications in consumer electronics, lasers and scientific instruments, and pave the way for new applications, such as photonic circuits.”