View Full Version : Optical Computing
06-18-11, 11:21 AM
How would you make an optical computer? It is basically a computer that runs on light instead of electricity. What materials would you use to build one? What benefits would there be to this?
06-18-11, 01:04 PM
Today's computers use the movement of electrons in-and-out of transistors to do logic. Optical or Photonic computing is intended to use photons or light particles, produced by lasers, in place of electrons. Compared to electrons, photons are much faster – light travels about 30 cm, or one foot, in a nanosecond – and have a higher bandwidth.
Most research projects focus on replacing current computer components with optical equivalents, resulting in an optical digital computer system processing binary data. This approach appears to offer the best short-term prospects for commercial optical computing, since optical components could be integrated into traditional computers to produce an optical/electronic hybrid. However, optoelectronic devices lose c.30% of their energy converting electrons into photons and back. This also slows down transmission of messages. All-optical computers eliminate the need for optical-electrical-optical (OEO) conversions.
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