Musings on optics, physics, astronomy, technology and life

Minerals to watch

I thought I knew about perovskite. After all, it’s a mineral, and I spent my spring and summer writing about rocks and minerals for a Smithsonian project, didn’t I?

Well, this is a different twist. Science magazine reports that synthetic perovskites, which have properties that could lead to cheap solar cells, also can generate coherent light. As in laser light.

Idealized perovskite crystal. Public-domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

Idealized perovskite crystal. Public-domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

Apparently the researchers who figured that out have demonstrated it in an optically pumped laser. They’ll have to devise an electrically pumped laser to get anything commercially viable. But if that works out, who knows what new applications these inexpensive lasers will lead to?

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