Aug 25, 2022

‘Photonic transistor’ switches light signals instead of electronic signals

Posted by in category: computing

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Electronic transistors, which act as miniature switches for controlling the flow of electrical current, underpin modern-day microelectronics and computers. State-of-the-art microprocessor chips contain several billion transistors that switch signals flowing in electrical wires and interconnects. With increasing data-processing speeds and shrinking chip sizes, however, wires and interconnects waste considerable energy as heat.

One alternative is to replace electrical interconnects with energy-efficient that carry data using . However, a practical analogue of the transistor for optical interconnects does not yet exist. Hence, Vivek Krishnamurthy from the A*STAR Data Storage Institute and co-workers in Singapore and the United States are developing a practical ‘photonic transistor’ for optical interconnects that can control light signals in a similar manner to electronic .

The researchers’ latest photonic transistor design is based on prevalent semiconductor technology and offers attractive attributes of high switching gain, low switching power and high operating speed.

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