Tags: microchip | breakthrough | sound | light

Microchip Breakthrough Uses Sound to Mover Light Faster

Microchip Breakthrough Uses Sound to Mover Light Faster
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Wednesday, 20 September 2017 07:01 AM

A microchip breakthrough is allowing world's first transfer of light to acoustic information on a chip, which could one day lead to the creation of light-based computers that would be faster, more efficient, and cheaper than is being used commercially now.

While likely years away from any practical application the public would see on a laptop or iPhone, the discovery by University of Sydney researchers turned light into sound by actually slowing down fast-moving photons, Gizmodo reported.

The research was published Monday in the journal Nature Communications.

The delay in signal was needed for technical reasons to facilitate the operation of a possibly photonic computer, Gizmodo said.

"You have to delay a signal when you synchronize networks," Albert Schliesser, a professor at the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark not involved in the study told Gizmodo. "If you need several inputs at the same time, you may have to hold one signal for a moment until the other one arrives so you can process them together and make a decision based on both of these inputs."

The University of Sydney said new light-to-sound microchips are being developed for use in telecommunications, optical fiber networks, and cloud computing data centers where current electronic devices are susceptible to electromagnetic interference, produce too much heat, or use too much energy.

"The information in our chip in acoustic form travels at a velocity five orders of magnitude slower than in the optical domain," said Birgit Stiller, research fellow at the University of Sydney and supervisor of the project. "It is like the difference between thunder and lightning."

The researchers said data delivered by light allows for bandwidth increases while data travels at the speed of light.

"Building an acoustic buffer inside a chip improves our ability to control information by several orders of magnitude," said Moritz Merklein the other lead author of the study.

Schliesser told Gizmodo that slowing down light would require long coils of fiber optics cables, but the chip developed by the researchers could do the job with a fraction of the material, thus reducing costs.

"Our system is not limited to a narrow bandwidth," Stiller said. "So unlike previous systems this allows us to store and retrieve information at multiple wavelengths simultaneously, vastly increasing the efficiency of the device."

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A microchip breakthrough is allowing world's first transfer of light to acoustic information on a chip, which could one day lead to the creation of light-based computers that would be faster, more efficient, and cheaper than is being used commercially now.
microchip, breakthrough, sound, light
379
2017-01-20
Wednesday, 20 September 2017 07:01 AM
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