Liquid crystal laser technology

COSMOS Lasers utilise self-assembled liquid crystal laser technology. A new approach, which enables low-cost and highly customisable tuneable lasers of any wavelength within the visible spectrum.


Organic technology - Defying convention

Most conventional lasers will consist of a "gain medium" sandwiched between two reflective mirrors, which provide the "resonant cavity". Unlike conventional lasers, the resonant cavity within COSMOS Lasers consists of an organic liquid crystal, which spontaneously self-organises itself into a nanoscale chiral structure. Such chiral structures are examples of photonic band-gap materials. These materials selectively reflect specific regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, as determined by the pitch of the chiral helix, and in a manner similar to Bragg reflection. Examples of such materials also exist In nature, such as the metallic lustre on the carapace of certain beetles, or the iridescence of some butterfly wings.


Lasers thinner than a human hair

The chiral liquid crystal is held within a film of only a few microns thickness, thinner than a human hair. Despite its microscopic size, it provides a highly efficient (~60%) resonant feedback for the laser cavity. We next add an organic laser dye, which has fluororescent properties that match the photonic band-gap of the liquid crystal host. When this dye-doped chiral nematic mixture is then optically excited with a suitable pump source, it emits laser light in directions parallel to the liquid crystal helix.

Simple and functional

The beauty of COSMOS Lasers is in their simplicity of construction and operation. By combining this science with additional patented technologies developed by the research team at the University of Cambridge, unique and highly customisable laser solutions can be created. These include: cartridge-style replacement lasers for arbitrary colour selection; continuously tuneable laser sources; multiple simultaneous laser beams of monochromatic or polychromatic emission; and many more. This highly efficient and functional performance leads us to our catchphrase: Any colour, any time, anywhere.



Further reading

  1. Liquid-crystal lasers (review)
    H.J. Coles, S.M. Morris
    Nature Photonics, 4, 676-685, (2010)
  2. Polychromatic liquid crystal laser arrays towards display applications
    S.M. Morris, P.J.W. Hands, S. Findeisen-Tandel, R.H. Cole, T.D. Wilkinson, H.J. Coles
    Optics Express, 16 (23), 18827-18837, (2008)