Imagine a sticker - a thin, flexible sticker - that can emit a beam of light, and be applied to contact lenses.
Sign. Me. Up.
That's right, folks - UK researchers have created laser stickers.
Researcher Malte Gather and the team worked out a way to lift organic membrane lasers off a supporting substrate,so they could be transferred to another surface - creating the "sticker"
The flexible lasers, less than a thousandth of a millimetre thick, work as free-standing films and can stick to different materials including banknotes and contact lenses.
a Membrane laser transferred onto a contact lens. b Contact lens laser being placed on a bovine eye. c Reflection of a white light source from a second-order membrane laser on bovine eye (white dashed line: outline of the contact lens; white arrow: position of grating). d Photograph of laser beam emitted by same bovine eye with contact lens laser, viewed on a screen placed ~50 cm away. The laser is optically pumped with blue light from the right. e Emission spectrum recorded from a bovine eye with contact lens containing a laser membrane. f Input−output characteristics of a mixed-order distributed feedback (DFB) laser on a bovine eye ball. The red area marks pump power densities that exceed the safety limit for intentional and repeated use on the human eye. g Membrane laser transferred onto a finger nail. h Optical excitation of a membrane laser on a finger nail. i Emission spectrum recorded from the same laser
The researchers say the sticker can also be used as a "unique identifier" - a security tag. The laser can be adjusted to emit a specific series of sharp lines on a flat background – the ones and zeros of a digital barcode.
They also showed that the devices were flexible and mechanically robust, even when attached to another object. They also don't degrade or lose optical properties over the course of several months - even when they were not stored under ideal conditions.