Researchers at Oxford University have developed the first photonic computing processor to utilize polarizations of light. The method uses the polarization of light to maximize information storage density and computing power using nanowires.
An electromagnetic wave like light consists of a coupled oscillating electric field and a magnetic field, which are always perpendicular to each other. Therefore, the polarization of electromagnetic waves refers to the direction of the electric field.
Together with Professor C. David Wright from the University of Exeter, the researchers succeeded in developing a HAD (hybridized-active-dielectric) nanowire.
The nanowire was manufactured from a hybrid glassy material that has switchable material proprieties upon the illumination of optical pulses.
Since each nanowire shows selective reactions to a certain polarization direction, information can therefore be processed using multiple polarizations in several directions.
“This is just the beginning of what we would like to see in future, which is the exploitation of all degrees of freedoms that light offers, including polarization to dramatically parallelize information processing. Definitely early-stage work, but super exciting ideas that combine electronics, non-linear materials and computing. Lots of exciting prospects to work on which is always a great place to be in,” Professor Bhaskaran, who led the work, said.
The sources for this piece include an article in PHYSORG.