Optical Switching For Ultrafast, Light-Based Electronics

To achieve previously unreachable data transfer speeds, a research team has succeeded in optically switching a light signal at attosecond rates. One quintillionth of a second is an attosecond. Using all-optical switching of a light signal on and off to achieve data transfer speeds more than a petahertz, measured at the attosecond time scale, is the topic of the study by the researchers. An attosecond is one quintillionth of a second, or one million times faster than the fastest semiconductor transistors, at which point data may be sent.

Researchers could register the on and off signals from a light source occurring at a scale of billionths a second, even though optical switches have already been demonstrated to attain information processing speeds faster than semiconductor transistor-based technology. This was done by utilizing a feature of fused silica, a glass that is frequently used in optics. Fused silica may change its reflectivity instantly, and the team could detect changes in a light’s signal at the attosecond time scale by employing ultrafast lasers

They claimed this new optical switching development would also enable data encoding on ultrafast laser pulses, speeding up data transfer and opening the door to long-distance communications from Earth to deep space. It has the potential to accelerate the speed at which data processing and information encoding are now limited and expand the information technology field.

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