Brace Up For Faster, Cooler Computers

Good news for tech savvy generation. Here comes an optical device that may lead to new and more powerful computers that also run faster and cooler.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have developed an essential component of new computers that would run on light.

The team created an optical diode by coupling tiny doughnut-shaped optical resonators, one with gain and the other with loss, on a silicon chip.

This diode is capable of completely eliminating light transmission in one direction and greatly enhancing light transmission in the other nonreciprocal light transmission.

Coupling of so-called loss and gain devices using PT (parity-time)-symmetry could enable such advances as cloaking devices, stronger lasers that need less input power, and perhaps detectors that could ‘see’ a single atom..
The researchers used two micro-resonators positioned so that light can flow from one to the other, to make the optical diode.

When the rate of gain in one resonator exactly equals that of loss in the other, the “phase transition” occurs at a critical coupling distance between the resonators.

To put it simply, when a lossy system is coupled with a gain system such that loss of energy exactly equals gain at an equilibrium point, a phase transition occurs.

The resonators are small enough to use in computers and future optical information processors, said the researchers.
The optical diodes were built from silicon, which has very little material loss at the telecommunication wavelength. The concept can be extended to resonators made from other materials for better performances.

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