Laser-Crafted Semiconductors: Scientists Unlock Potential of Ordinary Glass

Laser-Crafted Semiconductors: Scientists Unlock Potential of Ordinary Glass

Scientists just figured out a crazy new way to turn ordinary glass into a semiconductor using only a laser! This is nuts because until now you needed to add special materials to glass to make it able to conduct electricity.

But these researchers at EPFL in Switzerland and Tokyo Tech were experimenting with a type of glass called tellurite glass that contains the element tellurium. When they zapped it with super fast femtosecond laser pulses, the laser actually created tiny crystals of semiconducting tellurium and tellurium oxide inside the glass. Wild!

The team realized this could be big, because it meant they could use the laser to draw conductive patterns on the glass that would generate electricity when exposed to light. And they didn’t need to add anything to the glass – the laser does it all.

They tested it out, drawing a simple line pattern on a disc of tellurite glass. And it worked! The pattern generated current when exposed to UV and visible light, and lasted for months without wearing out.

This could be game changing. It means we could make self-powering smart windows or sensors simply by lasering patterns onto glass. As one of the researchers said, it’s like they found a way to locally turn glass into a semiconductor using only light. No other materials required.

The applications could be endless – light-detecting glass circuits, glass solar panels, you name it. It’s amazing what you can do with some clever laser tricks. This really opens up possibilities for using glass in new high-tech ways. Almost like science fiction stuff made real.