Computing Strictly with Photons
Nanoscale Photon Diode for More Energy Efficient Computing and Communications
+ The future of faster, more efficient information processing may come down to light rather than electricity. Mark Lawrence, a postdoctoral scholar in materials science and engineering at Stanford, has moved a step closer to this future with a scheme to make a photon diode – a device that allows light to only flow in one direction – which, unlike other light-based diodes, is small enough for consumer electronics.
“We can take these ideas in so many directions,” Lawrence said. “We haven’t found the limits of classical or quantum optical computing and optical information processing. Someday we could have an all-optical chip that does everything electronics do and more.”
+ “Diodes are ubiquitous in modern electronics, from LEDs (light emitting diodes) to solar cells (essentially LEDs run in reverse) to integrated circuits for computing and communications,” said Jennifer Dionne, associate professor of materials science and engineering and senior author on the paper describing this work, published in Nature Communications. “Achieving compact, efficient photonic diodes is paramount to enabling next-generation computing, communication and even energy conversion technologies.”
+ “One grand vision is to have an all-optical computer where electricity is replaced completely by light and photons drive all information processing,” Lawrence said. “The increased speed and bandwidth of light would enable faster solutions to some of the hardest scientific, mathematical and economic problems.”
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