Researchers at IQFR, in close collaboration with researchers from the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, have demonstrated the existence of a new inorganic compound that emits laser light and that belongs to a kind of materials never considered before for such application; the boron hydrides or boranes. Specifically, the researchers have concentrated in their work on solutions of anti-B18H22, a polyhedral inorganic molecule containing 18 boron and 22 hydrogen atoms, with architecture resembling that of a split soccer ball joint at opposite edges.
With a quantum yield of fluorescence of 97%, this compound emits laser light at a wavelength of 400 nm, with an efficiency and photostability that is superior or similar to many of the commercially available state-of-the-art organic dyes in this spectral region. Such properties will enable, in a future to come, the reduction in the number of times the laser medium has to be replaced in the devices based in the use of solutions, helping to solve issues with costs, occupational hazards, and environmental impact due to handling of solvents, which are toxic, flammable, and even carcinogenic.

The scientific relevance of this discovery, which has been published in the journal Nature Communications, represents a milestone in the history of lasers, since there are not many occasions in which a new family of laser materials is unveiled.

L. Cerdán, J. Braborec, I. García-Moreno, A. Costela, M. G. S. Londesborough. A borane laser. Nature Communications (2015), DOI: 10.1038/ncomms6958

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