Novosibirsk Scientists Grow Unique Nonlinear Crystal

In the broad view of modern medicine, a key scientific issue is the lack of diagnostic tools that can reliably diagnose a wide range of diseases during their early, pre-symptom stage. Optical methods (creation of wide-gap spectrometers) are a promising, minimally invasive, actively developing sphere.

For the first time, scientists at the NSU Physics Department Laboratory for Functional Materials grew a unique nonlinear lithium gallium sulfide crystal LiGaS2. Due to its high optical stability, LiGaS2 was the only infrared crystal that withstood tests in a parametric generation system pumped by a powerful femtosecond disk laser at the Ludwig Maximilian University Medical Center in Munich. The LiGaS2 crystal has the greatest threshold for optical damage. This nonlinear optical crystal is used to convert laser radiation in the middle and far infrared range outside the region of strong absorption by water vapor (5.5–12 μm). This is where a large number of molecules have characteristic vibrational spectra that are considered “fingerprints” and can be recorded with optical devices. This crystal will make it possible for a qualitative, instrumental breakthrough in the development of medium and far infrared spectrometers.

Alexander Apolonsky from the NSU Physics Department Laboratory for Functional Materials discussed their work,

The main focus for our Laboratory is to create new functional materials. Initially, it was a joint initiative with the Institute of Geology and Mineralogy SB RAS. The crystals we grew were studied at the Garching Medical Center in Munich, among other places. Their equipment demonstrated a record laser resistance for this crystal compared to existing single crystals.

One of the Laboratory’s objectives is to create instruments for effective, user-friendly medical diagnostics. This includes the development of existing spectrometers in the visible and mid-IR range that have the necessary characteristics for early diagnosis of diseases. This is the goal for the development of wide-gap infrared crystals, the heart of broadband spectrometers.  

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