Researchers create ’˜fog’ to transform lasers into useful light sources

Researchers create ’˜fog’ to transform lasers into useful light sources
A new generation of laser lights and projectors could be built using “artificial fog” and may help light stadiums and large buildings in the future.

Research from Graphene Flagship, an EU research initiative, demonstrates how a light diffuser based on hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) can diffuse laser beams, transforming them into a luminous source that scatters light in all directions. 

Graphene Flagship has a €1 billion budget to transform graphene research into commercial products and scientists on this project expect the efficient technology will find uses in automotive headlights and projectors as well as lighting for large facilities. 

Kiel University, Cambridge Graphene Centre, University of Trento, Hamburg University of Technology, Queen Mary University of London, the Edoardo Amaldi Foundation and collaborators partnered to deliver the alternative method to create white light and other colours by merging red, green and blue laser diode beams with the hBN foam diffuser, called aero-BN. The diffuser withstands stronger lasers so can be used to create smaller, brighter lights. 

Researchers say the aero-BN diffuser “acts like and artificial fog”, randomly scattering light from laser beams. 

In a statement on the Graphene Flagship website, Fabian Schütt, from Graphene Flagship partner Kiel University, said: "Conventionally, we tend to think of lasers as highly directional and intense light beams of a single colour, such as laser pointers. 

“This study shows that laser light can actually be used to create a homogenous white light source suitable for illumination applications, just like light bulbs, and also be expanded into more colours. We are currently looking for industrial partners to bring our new technology to the market, and searching for ways to scale-up the process."

Graphene Flagship

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