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News | June 22, 2018

Team led by 2017 Vannevar Bush Fellow, Dr.Teri Odom, Develops Tunable Lasers Inspired by Nature

Chameleons are well-known for their ability to change color, a feature driven by nanocrystals embedded in their skin. By controlling how closely these crystals are spaced together, chameleon skin can reflect different wavelengths of light and change the color that we see.

In a new study published in Nano Letters, Dr. Teri Odom and her team have harnessed this property to design a color-changing nanolaser based on arrays of metal nanoparticles on a stretchable polymer matrix.  Just like chameleon skin, stretching or contracting the polymer matrix changes the wavelength emitted from the laser. This work could lend itself to applications like flexible, color optical displays and multi-channel optical communications.

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