Laser network the size of a sand grain at the heart of pioneering achievement


Sebastian Klembt is the junior professor for Light-Matter Interaction and Topological Photonics at the Wuerzburg-Dresden Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat – Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter. He has been selected as one of the global call winners for the “Falling Walls Science Breakthrough of the Year” for his work on a topological laser network which he conducted in cooperation with a research team from Israel.


An array of lasers acting as one

The corresponding paper was published in the journal Science in 2021 and garnered a lot of attention in the scientific community. In this paper, Klembt and his team present their work on a highly efficient array of surface-emitting lasers acting as a single coherent laser while being no bigger than a grain of sand in size. This allows to improve the intensity output of micro lasers—so-called vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs)—that are already a well-established component of cell phones, fiber-optic networks and other technological applications of our day-to-day life. These lasers, however, measure only a few micrometers, which significantly limits the output power they can generate.

Klembt’s groundbreaking solution: a unique geometrical array of lasers on a chip that creates a photonic topological insulator platform. Through this approach, he was able to demonstrate for the first time that it is both theoretically and experimentally possible to combine VCSE lasers in order to create a more robust and highly powerful single laser.


Falling Walls Science Summit

The “Falling Walls Science Summit” is an international and interdisciplinary forum for pioneering scientific research as well as the dialogue between science leaders and society. For this year’s competition, the Falling Walls jury reviewed more than 1,000 nominations that have been put forward by leading academic institutions from a total of 105 countries. The global call winners are one step closer to being awarded the title “Falling Walls Science Breakthrough of the Year,” which will be announced mid-September.

Date & Facts

25 Aug 2022


Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat

The Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat - Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter is a joint project of Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg and TU Dresden since 2019. Almost 300 researchers from more than 30 countries and four continents are investigating topological quantum materials that reveal surprising phenomena under extreme conditions such as ultra-low temperatures, high pressure or strong magnetic fields. The Cluster of Excellence is funded within the framework of the Excellence Strategy of the German federal and state governments - the only cross-state cluster in Germany.

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