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 email@example.com.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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