Categories: News

Laser Pulse Study Could Lead to Super-Fast Lightwave Computers

New research into ultrashort light pulses could lead to computers that run 100,000 times faster than current hardware. A team from the University of Michigan may have achieved that goal with a study into laser pulses that last for intervals of only a quadrillionth of a second. The technique can be used to efficiently move electrons at such an infinitesimally fast speed that it could lead to lightwave electronics and more quantum computers.

“In the past few years, we and other groups have found that the oscillating electric field of ultrashort laser pulses can actually move electrons back and forth in solids,” Rupert Huber, professor of physics at the University of Regensburg and lead researcher on experiment, told the University of Michigan News. “Everybody was immediately excited because one may be able to exploit this principle to build future computers that work at unprecedented clock rates—10 to a hundred thousand times faster than state-of-the-art electronics.”

“The different energy landscapes can be viewed as a flat and straight street for electrons in one crystal direction, but for others, it may look more like an inclined plane to the side,” Fabian Langer, a doctoral student in physics at Regensburg added. “This means that the electrons may no longer move in the direction of the laser field but perform their own motion dictated by the microscopic environment.”

While the ultrashort light pulse research is still in its infancy, the Michigan team are optimistic that it could lead to major breakthroughs in the fields of lightwave electronics and quantum computing.

Ashley Allen

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