Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:

Optical physics

Clear directions for random lasers

Random lasers use disordered structures to produce light, which is usually emitted in many directions. A random laser that can produce a collimated beam offers a wide range of applications, from imaging to security scanning.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: A collimated beam from a random laser.


  1. See all news & views


  1. Cao, H., Ling, Y., Xu, J. Y., Cao, C. Q. & Kumar, P. Phys. Rev. Lett. 86, 4524–4527 (2001).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Wiersma, D. S. Nature Photon. 7, 188–196 (2013).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Schönhuber, S. et al. Optica 3, 1035–1038 (2016).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  4. Wang, J. & Genack, A. Z. Nature 471, 345–348 (2011).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Fallert, J. et al. Nature Photon. 3, 279–282 (2009).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Leonetti, M. & López, C. Appl. Phys. Lett. 102, 071105 (2013).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  7. Vynck, K., Burresi, M., Riboli, F. & Wiersma, D. S. Nature Mater. 11, 1017–1022 (2012).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Hisch, T., Liertzer, M., Pogany, D., Mintert, F. & Rotter, S. Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 023902 (2013).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  9. Liang, H. K. et al. Adv. Mater. 25, 6859–6863 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Tonouchi, M. Nature Photon. 1, 97–105 (2007).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Diederik S. Wiersma.

Related links

Related links

Related links in Nature Research

Technology: Photonics illuminates the future of radar

Applied physics: A cascade laser's random walk

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Wiersma, D. Clear directions for random lasers. Nature 539, 360–361 (2016).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing