Plastic laser

A low-cost tunable visible light source for medical use could emerge from research being carried out at St Andrews University, in Scotland. The device is based on a nitride LED that is used to pump a semiconducting polymer laser, according to team leader Ifor Samuel, and could be used in spectroscopy, chemical sensing and point-of-care medical diagnostics. A device like this could be very inexpensive Samuel explains, because it circumvents the need for an expensive pump laser. "We have shown that it is possible to use a nitride LED to pump a polymer laser leading to a compact, easy-to-make and low-cost package," he says.