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With Immense Potential, what does future hold for photonics-based computing?

Jan, 2021 - By WMR

With Immense Potential, what does future hold for photonics-based computing?

Photonic computing or also referred to as optical computing uses photons produced by diodes or lasers for the process of computation. Silicon photonics is the study and manufacture of optical systems that use silicon as an optical media. These systems use light to produce electric signals that are used in applications where high bandwidth, large capacity, long-distance communication are required. The silicon is first patterned using sub-cm accuracy, to create micro photonic elements. Once these have been patterned, the elements are sent through a vacuum chamber to be cooled to just below the vapor limit.

Silicon photonics has applications in communication systems, weather balloons, satellites, communications systems, and telecommunications. It can also be used for boosting energy in vacuum tubes. This process produces an extremely strong signal, which can transmit data at high bandwidth over very long distances. Furthermore, many applications involving illumination and control use this technology. Some of the applications in which silicon photonics finds application include illumination for navigation purposes on the onboard computer, night vision, radar detection, surveillance, robotics applications, and lighting. This technology is currently being developed for microwave and satellite communications systems. It is also now being developed for infrared applications, such as for the control and illumination of military vehicles and satellites.

There are two main groups of researchers using silicon photonics technologies. One group focuses on developing microsystems that are highly integrated and make use of small electronics. These systems need low power consumption, and they will have an easy interface for the user. The other group focuses on the development of systems that are more lightweight, making them suitable for military applications and for use in microelectronics. Both groups are continuously researching new developments and new equipment. Silicon is used for many applications in the microelectronics industry, and it is also used for optoelectronic applications. Silicon is an excellent conductor of electricity, which is why it is widely used for interface applications. Electrical connections involving solid-state diodes and conductors with a thickness of one micrometer are common. Integrated circuits based on silicon can be very thin and still maintain good conductivity.

Because of the properties of silicon photonics, the electrical conductors can actually be used as quantum computing devices. The method by which this occurs is called optical communication. A transmitter sends information between devices on the ends of electrical conductors. The information that is transmitted is a set of binary bits, which can be used as either a one or a zero. One important way to use photonics-based computing is to use photonic resonators. As its name suggests, a photonic resonator uses a collection of optical transistors and their links. This is done so that when certain wavelengths of light hit the resonators, they can create a kind of energy transition between the two diodes. This energy transfer enables one electronic device to act as a source of electrical conductors while the other acts as a source of ground light. That being said, there are numerous challenges related to hardware, which would require continuous R&D so as to make photonics-based computing scalable.

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