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A new class of semiconductor laser

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Award ceremony

Nominated for the European Inventor Award 2012 in the category Non-European countries

Prof. Federico Capasso

Inventors: Federico Capasso and Jérôme Faist

Country: USA

Invention: Quantum cascade lasers

Company: Bell Laboratories

Led by Federico Capasso and Jérôme Faist at Bell Laboratories in the USA (Prof. Faist is currently with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich), a team of physicists invented so-called Quantum Cascade Lasers (QCLs), which are able to reach areas of the electromagnetic spectrum previously untouched by laser light. Today, the ability of QCLs to produce wide bandwidths, high brightness, and high power very efficiently from a compact source has resulted in a wide array of unique products, from hand-held sensors for the detection of explosives and other toxic chemicals to more powerful radar systems.