Sunday, June 5, 2022

What is the Optical Computing?

7:08 PM | ,

Optical Computing

Modern computing relies heavily on the use of electrons and transistors. However, the potential for a higher bandwidth lies in the field of optical computing, which utilizes photons produced by lasers or diodes for computation.


Optical Transistors: The Cornerstone of Optics-Based Computing

Just as transistors form the fundamental building block of conventional computers, the equivalent in the realm of optical computing is the **optical transistor**. The development of these transistors relies on materials with a non-linear refractive index. In essence, these materials behave similarly to a bipolar transistor, where the intensity of incoming light impacts the intensity of the light transmitted through the material.

Optical Logic Gates and the CPU

These optical transistors pave the way for creating optical logic gates, the higher-level components of a computer's central processing unit (CPU). Nonlinear optical crystals are employed to control light beams, manipulating them to control other light beams.

Core Requirements of an Optical Computing System

To function well, an optical computing system needs three essential elements:

  1. Optical processor
  2. Optical data transfer (eg. fiber optic cable)
  3. Optical storage.

The Transition to Optical Digital Computers

Research endeavors largely revolve around substituting current computer components with optical equivalents. This results in an optical digital computer system that processes binary data. The integration of optical components into traditional computers could lead to the creation of an optical-electronic hybrid, offering promising short-term commercial prospects for optical computing.

Energy Consumption and Transmission Speeds

Despite the benefits, there are challenges to be addressed. Optoelectronic devices, for instance, consume 30% of their energy converting electronic energy into photons and vice versa, slowing message transmission. An all-optical computer, however, could eliminate the need for these optical-electrical-optical (OEO) conversions, thereby reducing electrical power consumption.

Nonlinear Processing Challenges

Computation in optical computing is a nonlinear process requiring interaction between multiple signals. Light, an electromagnetic wave, can only interact with another electromagnetic wave in the presence of electrons within a material. This interaction is much weaker for electromagnetic waves, like light, compared to electronic signals in conventional computers. Consequently, the processing elements of an optical computer might require more power and larger dimensions than a conventional electronic computer utilizing transistors.

Implementing Optical Computing Principles in Specific Applications

Optical computing principles have been employed to design application-specific devices, such as synthetic aperture radar and optical correlators. Correlators, for instance, can detect and track objects and classify serial time-domain optical data. As such, this technology has broad implications for multiple industries as we continue to explore the possibilities of optical computing.

You Might Also Like :

0 commenti:

Post a Comment