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Photonics


— Electronics

Optical switch development cuts power consumption by half

By - November 10, 2010 4 Pictures
Fujitsu Laboratories has unveiled a new optical switch technology that it claims uses half the power of conventional optical switches. The new optical waveguide switch uses photonics made from silicon germanium (SiGe) instead of pure-silicon semiconductor material. This technology will be the basis for a new generation of high-speed optical switches capable of operating across a wide range of wavelengths, while featuring perhaps the world’s lowest power requirements. Read More
— Science

Two-photon walk a giant stride for quantum computing

By - September 16, 2010 3 Pictures
Research conducted at the University of Bristol means a number of quantum computing algorithms may soon be able to execute calculations of a complexity far beyond what today's computers allow us to do. The breakthrough involves the use of a specially designed optical chip to perform what's known as a "quantum walk" with two particles ... and it suggests the era of quantum computing may be approaching faster than the scientific establishment had predicted. Read More
— Science

Light-activated membrane acts like a traffic signal for gas

By - August 3, 2010 1 Picture
Colored lights have been controlling the flow of motorists since the first traffic light was installed in 1868 in London. Now scientists have developed a membrane that uses colored light to control the flow of gas. The membrane blocks gas from flowing through it when one color of light is shined on its surface, and permits gas to flow through when another color of light is used. The technology could be useful in research applications and controlled drug delivery as well as industrial processing tanks that require the ability to turn the flow of gas on and off safely. Read More
— Electronics

Intel creates first silicon-based optical data connection with transmission rates up to 50Gbps

By - July 29, 2010 4 Pictures
Today’s computer components are connected to each other using copper cables or traces on circuit boards. Due to the signal degradation that comes with using metals such as copper to transmit data, these cables have a limited maximum length. This limits the design of computers, forcing processors, memory and other components to be placed just inches from each other. Intel has announced an important breakthrough that could see light beams replace the use of electrons to carry data in and around computers, enabling data to move over much longer distances and at speeds many times faster than today’s copper technology. Read More
— Science

Terahertz sensing promises breakthrough in remote bomb detection

By - July 12, 2010 1 Picture
Hidden explosives, chemical weapons, biological agents and illegal drugs could one day be optically detectable from up to 20 meters away. How? Well, every substance has its own unique terahertz (THz) radiation “fingerprint”, the waves of which pass through anything other than metal or liquid. Scientists from New York state’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are working on a way of analyzing those waves, then determining what substance they’re emanating from. The process would be harmless to both the subject and the observer, and could make the world a much safer place. Read More
— Digital Cameras

Turning image noise into a good thing

By - April 8, 2010 2 Pictures
Noise in images is generally held to be a bad thing, but engineers from Princeton University have used a nonlinear material to steal energy from image noise to reveal hidden or obscured objects. The engineers see the technology as potentially paving the way for improvements to radar systems, sonograms and stenography offering the possibility of allowing pilots to see through fog and doctors to look inside the human body without surgery Read More
— Electronics

IBM develops speed of light chip to chip communication device

By - March 10, 2010 1 Picture
Researchers at IBM have made important progress toward creating silicon circuits that communicate using pulses of light rather than electrical signals. This is thanks to a device called nanophotonic avalanche photodetector (NAP), which, as detailed on the journal Nature, is the fastest of its kind and is a major step toward achieving energy-efficient computing that will have significant implications for the future of electronics. Read More
— Science

Scientists squeeze more out of light

By - December 9, 2009 2 Pictures
Scientists at the University of Adelaide, Australia, have put the squeeze on light. By discovering that light within optical fibers can be squeezed into much tighter spaces than was previously believed possible, the researchers at the University's Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) have claimed a breakthrough that could change the world's thinking on light’s capabilities, especially when it comes to its use in telecommunications, such as fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), computing and other light sources. Read More
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