The semiconductor industry has thrived on its ability to miniaturize electrical components so that an increasingly large number can be crammed on a single chip. If optoelectronic or even purely optical circuits are to play a competing role, components such as lasers may have to become as small and as cheaply manufactured as today's transistors. The current generation of semiconductor lasers are typically several hundred microns long, and their manufacture require special steps to cleave the wafer at each end to create mirrors. Micron‐sized vertical‐cavity lasers, millions of which can be etched on a single chip, are on the threshold of commercial production.

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