To produce a white laser beam, the full visible colour spectrum is required, and the ASU boffins have proven that semiconductor lasers are capable of doing just that.
The scientists made a nanosheet with three parallel segments with each supporting laser in one of three colours but can tune colours from the RGB display.
The research means that lasers are now potentially a mainstream light source and will replace light emitting diodes (LEDs) by providing brighter and more energy efficient devices.
The ASU scientists believe that the white lasers could provide a combination illimination and communication system – called Li-Fi. This is likely to be over 10 times faster than current wi-fi systems and Li-Fi based on lasers may be between 10 to 100 times faster than LED based Li-Fi.
Doctoral student Fan Gan said: “Our goal is to achieve a single semiconductor piece capable of laser operation in the three fundamental lasing colours. The piece should be small enough so that people can perceive only one overall mixed colour instead of three different colours.”
One obstacle is that the semiconductor based white layer needs to be driven by a battery, and that’s not yet achievable.