Q&A

Behind The Curtain: Developing The First Laser Based On Bound States In The Continuum (BIC)

Behind The Curtain: Developing The First Laser Based On Bound States In The Continuum (BIC)
Schematic of the BIC laser: a high frequency laser beam (blue) powers the membrane to emit a laser beam at telecommunication frequency (red). Image courtesy of Kanté group at UC San Diego

In 1929, soon after the birth of quantum mechanics, physicists John von Neumann and Eugene Wigner predicted that certain wave states are able to remain perfectly confined, or bound, in an open system. Nearly a century later, this wave physics phenomenon, otherwise called bound states in the continuum (BIC), has been demonstrated by a group of researchers at the University of California (UC) in San Diego in the form of the world’s first BIC laser. This Q&A discusses the design process and unique features of this lasing technology, as well as future steps in making BIC lasers electrically powered and how long it might take to build a BIC laser to the desired specifications.