# White Laser Light

I have heard that recently researchers have developed white laser light by combining semiconductor laser sources of different colors. However, I have heard that before these lasers become a practical reality they must be powered by electricity and not other lasers. Why is this the case?

The semiconductor lasers that are used to produce white light are powered by electricity, so that solves your problem.

As lasers emit monochromatic light (1 single frequency or colour), they cannot be white. To get white laser light, you start with a blue laser. This blue light is directed at some phosphorescent material (a "phosphor") which, when activated by the blue light, emits light of a different colour, e.g. yellow. If you use several different phosphors you can get a mixture of colours that looks white - white is an equal mix of red, green and blue.

White LEDs work in the same way. Lasers are just a much more intense source of light than LEDs. In both cases you start with blue light and convert it to white using phosphors.

White lasers are starting to be used in car headlights, e.g. by Audi and BMW. This website describes how BMW's laser headlights work. It also goes into some detail about why these lasers are not dangerous to the eye.

• Supercontinuum lasers are not monochromatic. Nov 13 '15 at 22:38
• But they're pumped by a monochromatic laser - and they're not lasers Nov 15 '15 at 10:41
• Not always. There are plenty of supercontinuum systems which are pumped using femtosecond lasers with $\Delta\lambda / \lambda > 1$%, which are definitely not monochromatic. One perhaps could argue that supercontinuum light isn't laser light if it is produced in anomalously dispersive media, as unless care is taken the temporal coherence of the input light is not preserved. However, more recent sources based on normally dispersive media can completely preserve the coherence of the input signal with output bandwidths greater than 1 octave. IMO the light produced is still "laser light".
– user113857
Apr 13 '16 at 14:07

Each laser is made up of three main part: pump, amplifying medium and cavity. White laser is semiconductor laser; which means the amplifying medium is a semiconductor. In semiconductor lasers, pumping is electrical; which means the amplifying medium requires electrical power to be stimulated.

The semiconductor of the white laser is an alloy made of zinc, cadmium, sulfur, and selenium, and is nanometers thick. Three main-colors lasers are made by this alloy. When lasers of different colors are emitted and combine with each other and the result is a white light with laser-light properties.