A team of engineers from NTT corporation has developed computer equipment in which light is used to move the data, not electrons. In efficiency, such devices compete with silicon, and in the future they will be able to surpass them in terms of performance.
The growth of the speed of computers due to the modification of semiconductor components is regularly slowed down. Therefore, researchers have long been looking for alternative ways to develop technology. Many make a bet on quantum calculations, but there are still no enough powerful equipment and guarantees that it will ever appear. Another option is to use photons as the main information carrier inside the devices instead of electrons.
Now light is usually used to transmit data over long distances. However, NTT engineers have developed computing devices that are able to effectively convert various types of energy and use light in areas where it seems possible.
Previously, such equipment consumed too much energy and the conversion process was too slow. Therefore, to solve these problems, researchers invented a new type of photon crystal, which is able to disperse light in such a way that it can follow the assigned path on demand, and, if necessary, be absorbed to generate current. Crystal can also work in the opposite direction.
This allowed engineers to develop electro-optical and electronic devices that they used to create an electro-optical modulator operating at a speed of 40 Gbit / s and consumes only 42 at rings on the bit. They also created a photodetector at a speed of 10 Gb / s, which does not require an amplifier. Then the command combined two devices for creating a transistor.
Although NTT specialists have not yet managed to make a fully luminous computer, but according to their own, even hybrid electro-optical equipment will soon be able to surpass silicon chips.
Previously, we reported on the development of Harvard scientists who created