Researchers are developing a new platform for all optical computing, Researchers have developed a new platform for all optical calculations, namely for calculations that are only done with light rays.
Most calculations today use solid materials such as metal cables, semiconductors, and photodiodes to connect electronics to light, according to researchers.
The idea behind all optical calculations is to remove these fixed components and to control light with light. For example, imagine a robot that is really soft and doesn’t hurt powered by sunlight. Researchers are developing a new platform for all optical computing.
This platform is based on so-called nonlinear material, which changes its refractive index in response to light intensity.
When light bends through these materials, the refractive index in the beam’s path increases and makes its own light guide.
Most nonlinear materials today require high power lasers or are permanently modified by light transmission. Here, researchers have developed a new material that fundamentally uses reversible swelling and shrinking in low laser power hydrogels to change the refractive index.
Hydrogels consist of a network of polymers that swell with water like a sponge and a small number of photosensitive molecules known as spiropyran (similar to molecules used to dye transient lenses).
When light is emitted through the gel, the area under the light shrinks slightly, concentrating the polymer and changing the refractive index. When the lights are turned off, the gel returns to its original state. Researchers are developing a new platform for all optical computing.
When some materials are heated by material, they interact and influence one another, even over long distances.
Beam A can block beam B, beam B can block beam A, both can be canceled or both can pass – create optical logic gates.
In the long run, we can imagine designing intelligent computing operations that are responsive to this. Not only can we design light-sensitive materials that reverse the optical, chemical and physical properties in the presence of light, we can also use these changes to create independent channels of light or beams that can guide and manipulate light.
“Material science is changing,” Joanna Eisenberg, professor of materials science, told Amy Smith Berilson of SEAS and research co-authors. Self-regulating, adaptable materials that are able to optimize their own properties depending on the environment, replacing analogs that are static, energy efficient, and externally regulated.
Our reversible reactive material, which controls light at very low intensity, is further evidence of this promising technological revolution, according to researchers.