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Photonics

Science

Scientists design and build new energy-carrying particles

In the mysterious microscopic realm where the electromagnetic fields of light and matter intimately intermingle as they exchange energy, plasmons, excitons, and other particles with unexpected and usual properties abound. Now physicists have created a new set of energy-carrying particles to add to this range. Dubbed "topological plexcitons," these new particles show promise in greatly enhancing energy flows for solar cells and nanoscale photonic circuitry.Read More

Electronics

Tiny lasers on silicon means big things for electronics

Silicon forms the basis of everything from solar cells to the integrated circuits at the heart of our modern electronic gadgets. However the laser, one of the most ubiquitous of all electronic devices today, has long been one component unable to be successfully replicated in this material. Now researchers have found a way to create microscopically-small lasers directly from silicon, unlocking the possibilities of direct integration of photonics on silicon and taking a significant step towards light-based computersRead More

Electronics

Growing nanowire lasers directly on silicon promises to simplify photonic chip design

For over half a century, Moore's Law, which predicts that processor performance would double roughly every 18 months, has held true. But as electronics grow smaller and smaller, fundamental physical barriers loom ahead. To help stave off that day, a team of physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is working on nanowire lasers that are a thousand times thinner than a human hair and may one day lead to economical, high-performance photonic circuits.Read More

Electronics

NASA's new laser-based modem could revolutionize data-crunching

For years now, fiber optics has been synonymous with super-speed communications and data transfer, but now NASA is working to develop the next generation of high-speed modems using an emerging technology called integrated photonics. The agency's first integrated photonics modem is set to be deployed aboard the International Space Station in 2020. The palm-sized device makes use of optics-based functions like lasers, switches and wires that are all integrated on a microchip much like those in our cell phones. Read More

Electronics

Breakthrough photonic processor promises quantum computing leap

Optical quantum computers promise to deliver processing performance exponentially faster and more powerful than today's digital electronic microprocessors. To make this technology a reality, however, photonic circuitry must first become at least as efficient at multi-tasking as the microprocessors they are designed to replace. Towards this end, researchers from the University of Bristol and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) claim to have developed a fully-reprogrammable quantum optical chip able to encode and manipulate photons in an infinite number of ways.Read More

Physics

Hyperlens significantly boosts image resolution of microscopic objects

Using visible light magnified through a compound series of lenses to image small objects, standard optical microscopes have been with us for many centuries. Whilst continually being improved, the result of these many advances of optics and image-capturing techniques means that many high-end optical microscopes have now reached the limit of magnification possible as they push the resolution properties of light itself. In an attempt to resolve this issue, scientists at the University of Buffalo (UB) have created a prototype visible light "hyperlens" that may help image objects once only clearly viewable through electron microscopes.Read More

Physics

World's smallest beamsplitter paves way toward computing at the speed of light

Silicon photonics is an emerging technology that incorporates electronic circuits using photons of laser light rather than electrons to transmit, receive, and manipulate information. As such, a silicon photonic CPU could potentially process information at the speed of light – millions of times faster than computers available today. In a step towards this goal, engineers working at the University of Utah have developed an ultra-compact photonic beam-splitter so small that millions of these devices could fit on a single silicon chip.Read More

Electronics

Optical antenna may allow LEDs to replace lasers in host of devices

By applying 120 year old radio frequency antenna theory to the much newer field of photonics, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory claim to have produced a prototype optical antenna that increases the intensity of emission from a nanorod light source by more than 115 times. This technique may offer the opportunity to replace power-hungry lasers in short-range optical communications devices with enhanced low-power LEDs. Read More

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