Perhaps The Smiths were thinking a little more esoteric when they penned that tune and it is maybe a little bit of artistic license to say that InP lasers never go out. But somewhere on this planet there is always an InP laser blinking away rapidly, transmitting information, demonstrating how much we have come to depend on these devices.
So why is InP so important? Its unique electrical properties make it well suited for light creation; it has a direct bandgap and high electron mobility so that fast switching of laser light is possible.
Why is that important in order to generate and transmit information at high speed?
Information is transmitted by light, so the creation of laser light is a must. Information is written in the form of the light on and off, dictated by a stream of electrons, and so to do this quickly, high electron mobility is required, hence InP fits. Complex structures can also be engineered which can alter the emission frequency so you can tune the light to your application.
Why is the speed so important?
The world is more and more connected, the demand for video and data is huge and growing, so the ability to transmit information quickly over distance is ever increasing.
So InP, although little known outside of the semiconductor industry, is vital to many of the things we take for granted today. Long may it continue to shine brightly!
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