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Winter 2016

Inquiry Magazine Archive

  • Spring 2016

    Spring 2016: Premium Blend

    Found in everything from space shuttles to dental fillings, composite materials have thoroughly infiltrated modern society. But their potential is still greatly untapped, offering researchers ample opportunity for discovery.

  • Fall 2015

    Fall 2015: Collision Course

    Within the particle showers created at the Large Hadron Collider, answers to some of the universe’s mysteries are waiting.

  • Spring 2015

    Spring 2015: Almost Human

    Model systems like pigeons can help illuminate our own evolutionary and genomic history.

  • Fall 2014

    Fall 2014: Small Wonder

    UT Arlington's tiny windmills are bringing renewable energy to a whole new scale.

  • Winter 2014

    Winter 2014: Overdue for an Overhaul

    The stability of our highways, pipelines, and even manholes is reaching a breaking point.

  • 2012

    2012: Mystery solved?

    Scientists believe they have discovered a subatomic particle that is crucial to understanding the universe.

  • 2011

    2011: Boosting brain power

    UT Arlington researchers unlock clues to the human body’s most mysterious and complex organ.

  • 2010

    2010: Powered by genetics

    UT Arlington researchers probe the hidden world of microbes in search of renewable energy sources.

  • 2009

    2009: Winning the battle against pain

    Wounded soldiers are benefiting from Robert Gatchel’s program that combines physical rehabilitation with treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • 2009

    2007: Sensing a solution

    Tiny sensors implanted in the body show promise in combating acid reflux disease, pain and other health problems.

  • 2006

    2006:Semiconductors: The next generation

    Nanotechnology researchers pursue hybrid silicon chips with life-saving potential.

  • 2005

    2005: Imaging is everything

    Biomedical engineers combat diseases with procedures that are painless to patients.


Laser Show

Engineer developing ultra-thin laser to boost efficiency in electronics 

Weidong Zhou

Weidong Zhou

In the electronics industry, size definitely matters. And Weidong Zhou's research is taking that maxim to the next level.

The electrical engineering professor is developing a new type of ultra-thin semiconductor laser, one that can be integrated—with increased capacity and energy-efficiency—into mainstream electronics on the same silicon substrate.

"Companies like IBM and Intel are using this technology for high-performance computing centers," says Dr. Zhou. "The big push now is for the next big thing: smaller, faster, and less and less power consumption."

The U.S. Army Research Office awarded a three-year, $600,000 grant to Zhou and co-principal investigator Yuze "Alice" Sun, an electrical engineering assistant professor, to build on advances already made in printed photonic crystals and silicon "lab-on-a-chip" technology.

Zhou's membrane laser is less than one micron thick and is compatible with planar Complementary Metal Oxide Silicon platforms, which are considered the building blocks for electronics because they can easily be integrated with current platforms. He believes that by incorporating certain compound semiconductor materials with a silicon photonic crystal cavity, a laser may be built directly on a silicon chip next to other electrical components, resulting in increased speed and efficiency.

"We are looking for devices and components to be integrated on a chip," Zhou says. "As we address electrical injection, integration with other devices on the chip, and increased power capabilities, we can begin to apply this technology to products in the medical field or the consumer arena."

More articles from this issue

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