Tuesday March 14, 2017

Computers Could Get 100,000 Times Faster Thanks to Laser Light Pulses

Researchers have figured out a way to use ultrafast light pulses to manipulate and guide electrons in a semiconductor, which could bring us one step closer to quantum computing. During this technique, electrons are moving so quickly that they rarely have an opportunity to collide with one another, which means less heat and the possibility of future computers running at obscene clock rates.

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Extremely short, configurable "femtosecond" pulses of light demonstrated by an international team could lead to future computers that run up to 100,000 times faster than today's electronics. The researchers, including engineers at the University of Michigan, showed that they could control the peaks within the laser pulses and also twist the light. The method moves electrons faster and more efficiently than electrical currentsآ—and with reliable effects on their quantum states. It is a step toward so-called "lightwave electronics" and, in the more distant future, quantum computing, said Mackillo Kira, U-M professor of electrical engineering and computer science who was involved in the research.