Photons are known to be the smallest particle of light existing in nature. This denotes that there is not much room for advancement beyond that where power consumption is concerned. Further, most standard modern electrical transistors present today take tens times more energy to switch. On the other hand, the ones which use a single electron can achieve comparable efficiencies but are relatively slower. Other than performance issues, competing power-saving, electronic transistors also necessitate heavy cooling equipment, further raising the consumption of power and operating costs.
A research team might have resolved this hurdle by creating a highly energy-efficient optical switch. The transistor might even potentially replace electronic transistors as a new generation of computers operating through photons instead of electrons. The research would significantly contribute to the Transistors Market as it can directly lead to significant power saving. Further, the transistor does not need a cooling system to operate and is extremely fast – 1 Trillion operations per second. Thus, making it around 100 to 1000 times faster than current state-of-the-art commercial transistors.
The reason behind the outstanding energy efficiency of the new device is that it takes a minimum amount of photons to switch. It also works at room temperature, enabling it to evade a lot of conventional problems. The team added that the switch could also connect the device by transporting data between them through optical signals. Not only this, but it can also work as an amplifier and boost the intensity of approaching laser beams by around 23,000.
The device includes a low-loss silicon waveguide giving it the ability to shuttle optical signals between different transistors. The development of these components is a massive step towards creating optical computers with the ability to manipulate photons rather than electrons, facilitating quicker performance and minimal power consumption.
The team added that a long way needs to be navigated before the current proof-of-principle demonstration is used in an optical processor. Much work is required to reduce the device's overall power consumption, which is currently dependent on the pump laser responsible for keeping the switch active.
Researchers believe that perovskite super crystal materials might be worth exploring as they have been a great candidate for strong light-matter coupling in the past. This entails that they can collectively provide a strong quantum response by way of superfluorescence.