New Light-Bending Microchip Signals Arrival of Photonic Quantum Computers

Imagine a computer with processing speeds that are infinite. Terabytes of data able to be run, stored, and transferred in the blink of an eye. What we’re talking about is a complete data-processing revolution in computer technology, and this technology has already been invented. For the first time, infinite speeds have been achieved on a computer microchip.

How do they do it? When you see a pulse of light, that pulse is comprised of a packet of light waves all blended together. Because light acts as a wave, energy within the light wave rises and falls across a space. When a pulse of light moves through a material that bends, scatters, or absorbs light, the packet of light waves are of course scattered and can interfere with each other. This causes the crest of the waves to surge forward, driving the waves to travel faster than light.

To create the microchip, scientists created a metamaterial that has a refractive index of zero. That means when light waves shine through a zero index substance, the waves are able to travel through it at infinitely fast speeds, without violating any principles of physics. Researchers can design the structure of the microchips, which gives them incredible and precise control over light waves, manipulating, bending, and twisting them as necessary to transfer data, basically at the speed of light.

In the past, electron-based computer systems would have electrons that encountered resistance in metal wires, which resulted in some wasted energy that would be released as heat. The new photonic microchips would not only promise infinite processing speeds, but they would also run cooler, allowing computer designers to create smaller but more powerful computers.

With technology moving steadily towards light-based computer systems, light measurement instruments will be more vital than ever. Konica Minolta is the leader in light measurement and advanced optical technology. We have the instruments needed to obtain precise light measurement data needed for nearly any application.

Photo Credit: Harvard University

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