Michael Ward is creating crystals that may eventually improve lasers and optical switching devices. The University of Minnesota researcher and professor of materials science designs solid-state structures. The crystals make possible the changing of red light to green or blue. Ward's crystals could, for example, be an enabler of blue light lasers. He points out that blue lasers, although difficult to build, are desirable for telecommunications applications because information transmits faster at blue light's higher frequencies and shorter wavelengths. "What we are doing is crystal engineering," says Ward. "We are able to design a crystal with a polar structure," he adds. Because they are polar, the crystals double the frequency of light. In optical switching, Ward's crystals function as transmitters for passing information. "There are other materials that can do what our crystals do, but they don't have the thermal robustness that these crystals have," says Ward. For more information, contact Ward at (612) 625-3062 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Practically all electronic devices today contain metals that may
be coming from conflict-ravaged African countries. And political pressures will increasingly influence how these minerals are sourced and used in products.
Weaned on the relatively effortless connectivity of today’s massive variety of consumer electronic products, automation users in the IIoT will likely not tolerate too many competing, piecemeal standards for long. And the Industrial Internet Consortium is trying to preempt history.
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