Will Graphene Replace Silicon? – Computerphile
A team of engineers from NTT Corporation has developed computer equipment that uses light rather than electrons to move data. In terms of efficiency, such devices compete with silicon ones, and in the future they will be able to surpass them in performance..
Increase in the speed of work computers by modifying semiconductor components are regularly slowed down. Therefore, researchers have long been looking for alternative ways of developing technology. Many people rely on quantum computing, but there is still no powerful enough equipment and guarantees that it will ever appear. Another option is to use photons as the main carrier of information inside devices instead of electrons..
Light is now commonly used to transmit data over long distances. However, NTT engineers have developed computing devices that are able to efficiently convert various types of energy and use light in areas where it is possible..
Previously, such equipment consumed too much power and the conversion process was too slow. therefore to solve these problems, researchers invented a new type of photonic crystal that is capable of scattering light in such a way that it can follow a designated path on demand and, if necessary, be absorbed to generate current. The crystal can also work in the opposite direction.
This allowed the engineers to develop electro-optical and optoelectronic devices, which they used to create an electro-optical modulator operating at 40 Gbps and consuming only 42 attjoules per bit. They also created a 10 Gbps photodetector that does not require an amplifier. The team then combined the two devices to create a transistor.
Although specialists from NTT have not yet been able to make an all-light computer, but even hybrid electro-optical equipment could soon outperform silicon chips, they said.
We previously reported on the development of Harvard scientists, who created a chip for light programming.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Unsplash