Researchers herald optical-computing breakthrough
By Stewart Mitchell
Posted on 18 Aug 2009 at 11:22
Researchers at Purdue University in the US have demonstrated a nano-laser that they claim will pave the way for photonic computers using light instead of electrons to process information.
The microscopic "spacer" device is described as a breakthrough in photonics technology because it is the first of its kind to emit visible light and represents a critical component for possible future technologies based on "nanophotonic" circuitry.
The development of nanophotonic circuits will ultimately require a laser-light source, but conventional lasers are limited in how small they can be made because a key component, the optical resonator, must be at least half the size of the wavelength of laser light.
The researchers claim they have overcome this hurdle by using not photons but surface plasmons, which enabled them to create a resonator just 44 nanometers, or billionths of a meter, in diameter.
We have demonstrated the nanolaser - essential for nanophotonics to become a practical technology
"Here, we have demonstrated the feasibility of the most critical component - the nanolaser - essential for nanophotonics to become a practical technology," says Vladimir Shalaev, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University.
Although photonics in computing has been explored for some time – and has already filtered down into in data centres, where optical systems have replaced copper in some applications – the idea of squeezing photonics onto a chip remains a concept for the future.
According to the Purdue researchers, the next step in the quest for a working photonic computer will involve creating a spaser-based nanolaser that uses an electrical input source instead of a light source, which would make them more practical for computer and electronics applications.
right, so a photonic computer that doesn't use light...
I'm not getting it?
By Bluespider on 18 Aug 2009
If successful, we'll have hundreds of cpu cores inside a single processor while producing a fraction of excess heat as today's processor.
Gonna be a long wait though :D
By zeevro on 18 Aug 2009
- Flickr redesign: is it enough to tempt photographers back?
- Hands on with the new Google Maps
- Nokia Lumia 925 review: first look
- Why I won't subscribe to Creative Cloud
- GoPro camera strapped to a remote-control helicopter: the ultimate boy's toy
- Acer Iconia A1 review: first look
- Acer Aspire P3 review: first look
- Acer Aspire R7 review: first look
- How we produce the PC Pro podcast
- Google Now draining iPhone battery
- The ICO's shame-faced u-turn on cookies
- Start8 and ModernMix: making Windows 8 work on a desktop
- How to boost your mobile reception
- How to fix Facebook: Social Fixer
- Taking the stress out of WordPress updates
- Where to download free web fonts
- Turn your tablet into a Sky+ remote control
- How to measure the success of a new IT system
- Three years on: the state of the tablet market
- Windows 8: what works and what doesn't