Arizona professor develops world's first white laser

A remarkable invention at ASU could change the way we watch TV. The professor who is responsible for the breakthrough is getting top honors from Popular Science Magazine. His invention is called the white laser, and it could create more vivid images for TV screens, and change how we share data and communicate.

Popular Science calls it one of the top breakthroughs of 2015, the world's first white laser. Professor Cun-Zheng Ning has been working on the invention for nearly a decade.

"With lasers we can produce many more colors than the standard LED. You can represent any colors you want to represent in a more truthful manner," said Ning.

Growing a semiconductor on a nano scale is part of the challenge. His tiny semiconductor produces a red, blue, and green laser, that merge into a white laser.

"To grow for the firs time a semiconductor that would be made red, green, and blue at the same time, and furthermore we were able to demonstrate that single piece of material can actually have laser actions simultaneously so that the overall light coming out is white," said Ning.

Three lasers produce the white laser beam. The invention could enhance TV and computer screens, providing up to 70% more colors. Each razor-thin laser would be just one pixel on a screen.

Laser TV's already exist, but they are huge and pricey, and consume way too much power.

"That was really exciting when you put a laser TV side-by-side, with the best LCD or LED TV, and there's no comparison, the kinda color you see is immediately so vivid," said Ning.

There are other applications. The white laser could also be used to transmit data, it would improve communications speeds making them faster and more secure.

Another possibility for the white laser is lighting at home. It could ultimately replace the standard light bulbs we use. Professor Ning says there's a lot of research and development ahead before we see any white-laser TV's hitting store shelves.