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.
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